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WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE? AM I AT RISK?

Blood Pressure (BP) describes High blood pressure is often called


the force at which blood flows the silent killer because most peo-
through your blood vessels ple do not have any symptoms or
(arteries), to keep everything in pain and do not know they are in
your body healthy and working danger. There are many things that
normally. increase your chances for high blood
pressure.

WHAT IS HIGH
You are at higher risk if you:
BLOOD PRESSURE?
(HYPERTENSION) Have a family member
with high blood pres-
sure.
Smoke.
When you have high blood pressure,
it means your heart is working hard- Eat too many unhealthy
References: er than it should. foods.
2010 National Heart Foundation of Australia, National Pre-
Are overweight.
scribing Service Limited, National Aboriginal Community Con- Its like forcing water through a nar-
trolled Health Organisation and Aboriginal Health Council of
SA Inc. A friendly reminder row hose. Your heart works extra Drink too much alcohol.
CDC High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet from: hard to pump blood through your Have a lot of stress.
NHS UK High Blood Pressure Fact Sheet
Nurse Nikki arteries. This can build up pressure.
WHO Global Brief on Hypertension

www.mass.gov/dph/bloodpressure
It represents an elevation in systolic
heart.org/bloodpressure
and/or diastolic blood pressure.
WHAT DOES MY BLOOD HOW DO I CONTROL MY HIGH WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW
PRESSURE NUMBERS MEAN? BLOOD PRESSURE? ABOUT MY MEDICINES?

The two numbers are used to The most important thing is to keep taking
measure blood pressure. your medicines as directed.

The top number is the pressure


when your heart beats.
120 Stopping Tobacco Use
Make a list of all your medicines with notes
on when and how to take them.
80
(Systolic pressure) Being More Active.
The bottom number is the
- aim for 30 minutes of exercise, Dont stop taking your medicines for any
pressure when your heart is 5 days per week reason without asking your doctor first.
between beats. Stopping suddenly can make your condition
(Diastolic pressure)
Losing Weight. worse.
Having high blood pressure means that one or - if you are overweight or obese If cost is a problem, talk to your healthcare
both numbers are above the normal range.
provider about ways you can reduce the
Eating Healthily. cost of your medicines.
- more fruit and vegetables,
less salt and fat Take your medicines at the same time every-
day. Tips to help you remember:
Reduce Stress Levels.
Organize your medicine in a pillbox marked
- if it is high
with the days of the week.

Cutting down on Alcohol. Keep them in a visible place, so you can re-
- aim for fewer than 15 standard drinks per member to take them as part of a routine.
week (for men), and fewer than 8 standard Set reminder alarms on your cell phone,
drinks per week (for women). clock, computer, or watch.

Ask your healthcare provider about any side


Reducing the Amount of Caffeine
effects.
that you consumeremember that caffeine
is often in tea, coffee and cola drinks. If you feel any side effects, let your
healthcare provider know right away.

Dont take any over-the-counter medicines


*If your BP is high over several readings, your doctor may offer anti-
*High BP is diagnosed if your BP is hypertensive therapy. This involves taking one or two tablets each or herbal supplements without asking your
high over several readings, which day. Your doctor will choose treatment that is suitable for you. healthcare provider first.
may be taken on several days.