WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital Primary Care Presents “Why Blood Pressure Matters to Your Overall Health” | Sponsored

WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital Primary Care Presents “Why Blood Pressure Matters to Your Overall Health”

It is essential to maintain a healthy blood pressure. Too high blood pressure can force your heart to work too hard and damage your blood vessels. This month, we’ll discuss what constitutes a normal blood pressure range, help you understand what a blood pressure measurement is, and ways you can help maintain healthy blood pressure.

1. What is a normal blood pressure range?

Normal blood pressure can vary from person to person. For many people, a normal range is 100-119/60-79. High blood pressure is above 130 for the upper figure or above 80 for the lower figure. We consider a patient to have hypertension if they have an elevated reading on at least two separate occasions.

2. What causes high blood pressure?

Many things can cause hypertension (high blood pressure). Often, hypertension is the result of overweight, obesity, or physical inactivity. Eating a lot of salty foods, smoking, or drinking a lot of alcohol can lead to high blood pressure. Certain medications, such as Sudafed, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories (like ibuprofen), and steroids, can raise blood pressure. Certain medical conditions can cause hypertension. These include sleep apnea, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and other hormonal issues. Genetics also play a role – people with a family history of hypertension are much more likely to develop hypertension themselves.

3. What is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure?

A blood pressure reading is a number above another number. For example, a blood pressure cuff might read 120/80. The top number is systolic blood pressure. It is the pressure exerted against the walls of blood vessels when the heart pumps. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the pressure against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart relaxes and fills up between beats.

4. What is the treatment for high blood pressure?

The treatment of hypertension is very important. Over time, high blood pressure can put a strain on the heart and blood vessels. This can lead to other problems, such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure. Fortunately, we have plenty of medication options for the treatment of blood pressure. Patients with hypertension should speak with their primary care provider to determine the best medication for them. Lifestyle changes are also an important part of the treatment plan. Regular exercise can help tremendously. Reducing your alcohol intake can also help. Smokers should try to quit. Overweight people should work on losing weight to improve their blood pressure.

5. Are there certain things I should eat to help maintain good blood pressure?

Diet plays an important role in the treatment of hypertension. One aspect of this is reducing sodium or salt intake. Sometimes a lot of salt can be hidden in foods that people don’t expect. A good rule of thumb is to limit buying things at the store that come in cans, boxes, and bags. For example, canned soups and bags of potato chips are high in sodium, even most that are labeled “low in salt” on the package. Frozen meals and restaurant meals also contain large amounts of salt. On the other hand, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains are a great option for people with high blood pressure.

6. Should I check my own blood pressure regularly?

People with high blood pressure should get into the habit of checking their blood pressure at home. This can be helpful for people who have not yet been diagnosed with high blood pressure, as it allows their primary care provider to see their blood pressure average on a regular basis. It is also useful for people with hypertension, as it can help healthcare professionals determine if blood pressure is under control or if medications need to be added or adjusted.

To schedule an appointment with a WVU Medicine primary care provider in Uniontown, please call 724-430-5940.

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