High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when the force of the blood flowing through an individual’s arteries is consistently too high. Some 80 million Americans — that’s one in every three adults over the age of 20 — suffer from high blood pressure, many of whom are unaware that they have it.
The best way to know if you have high blood pressure it is to have your blood pressure checked by a medical professional. The reading will include two numbers:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can be fatal and is, in fact, sometimes called "the silent killer" because with HBP, there are often no symptoms.
High blood pressure that is not controlled can cause a number of complications, including:
High blood pressure can be reversed with lifestyle changes, sometimes in conjunction with medication.
Whether medication is deemed necessary, lifestyle modifications are also essential. This includes following a low-salt, low-fat diet, limiting alcohol consumption, getting daily exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. In addition to watching the scale, it’s important to also keep an eye on your waistline. Excessive weight around the waist, in particular, puts individuals at greater risk of high blood pressure. In general, men are at risk if their waist circumference is over 40 inches and for women with waist circumferences greater than 35 inches.
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