Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure. High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder than normal and the blood vessels to get harder and less flexible over time. This puts you at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney damage. Your blood pressure is considered high if you have a systolic blood pressure of 140 or greater or a diastolic pressure of 90 or greater. A healthy adult has a blood pressure of less than 130/80 mmHg.
High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes and, if needed, blood pressure lowering medications. We encourage you to have your blood pressure monitored regularly. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend these lifestyle changes:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat foods low in salt (sodium)
- If you drink, do so in moderation
- Follow a healthy diet
- Be physically active
- Quit smoking
We encourage you to take an active role in your health care and to partner with your doctor and other health professionals. If your blood pressure is higher than the goal set for you by your doctor or if you're having problems with your medication, schedule an appointment with your doctor.