Affecting one out of three adults in the US, high blood pressure or hypertension is quite prevalent in the country. Yet, it’s a condition that doesn’t have any symptoms. In addition, nearly one out of three American adults has prehypertension – higher blood pressure numbers that increase the risk of developing hypertension.
High blood pressure is the number one cause of stroke, kidney disease, heart failure, and heart attack. It’s a serious problem that adults must be wary of as they age. Studies show that African-Americans, in particular, are more at risk of this condition. In one year, the overall death rate from high blood pressure was 52 percent for African-American males and 40 percent for females – more than for any other group.
The Blood Pressure Threshold
Ideally, we should all have a blood pressure below 120 over 80 (120/80). This is what’s considered as normal to have good health. At this level, you have a much lower risk of stroke or heart disease. The range of 120/80 to 139/89, which was once classified as normal to high, is now regarded as prehypertensive.
You may quickly have high blood pressure if your numbers fall somewhere in the prehypertensive range. Most health specialists recommend lifestyle changes to combat this increase in blood pressure. For those who have added risk factors such as having high blood sugar or being overweight, the concern is even greater. Although many people don’t experience symptoms, they still become more at risk of cardiovascular disease. Since this condition is the cause of death for one out of every three Americans, it’s important to ensure your blood pressure doesn’t go below or past the normal threshold.
Keeping A Normal Blood Pressure
You should be concerned if your blood pressure is going up. With lifestyle changes and proper treatment, it is possible to lower your blood pressure and stay healthy. Here are top recommendations from doctors:
- Eat a healthy, low-sodium diet
- Stop smoking
- Reduce your stress levels
- Lose excess weight
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
When adopting good habits is not enough, your physician may prescribe one or more antihypertensive medications. You may take a blood pressure maintenance drug to keep your condition under control. Just remember that stopping medication on your own can increase your chance of developing cardiovascular disease.
Managing Resistant High Blood Pressure
There are cases when high blood pressure persists even when the person has already made lifestyle changes and is taking medication. Resistant hypertension is the medical term for this condition and it occurs in about 20 to 30 percent of people with high blood pressure. Some of its common causes are uncontrolled risk factors like diabetes and obesity, high alcohol and salt intake, effects of other drugs, and other health conditions like sleep apnea and kidney disease.
Work with your healthcare provider to find ways that will help manage risk factors. You may have to undergo tests to make sure there are no other conditions contributing to your high blood pressure.
Be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly to prevent cardiovascular disease and other possible side effects of hypertension. As long as you work with your doctor to find the right combination of medication and lifestyle changes, you will probably be able to control your high blood pressure over time.