If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you’re probably asking, “What is high blood pressure?” This can be a confusing time and you may feel very worried about your diagnosis.
After all, high blood pressure is one of the greatest risk factors for heart attacks and stroke.
If you have high blood pressure, it means that the blood in your blood vessels is pushing too hard on the walls of the blood vessels. Eventually this can lead to hardened arteries and even a heart attack or stroke.
It’s important not to ignore this symptom. Your body is telling you that something is wrong. For most people high blood pressure means it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. For example, you’ll need to watch your intake of sodium.
You may also need to lose weight to take some pressure off of your heart. In addition, exercise can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, which will improve your heart health immensely.
How do you know if your blood pressure is high? Normal, healthy blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. Sometimes your blood pressure might be higher if you’ve been exerting yourself physically or if you’re in a stressful situation.
Getting one high measurement of blood pressure doesn’t mean you have high blood pressure. But if you take repeated readings when you’re at rest that are higher than 120/80, you may have a problem.
It’s always best to talk to your doctor about the options of you’re concerned that your blood pressure is too high. If your blood pressure is only slightly high, your doctor may want to work with you on lifestyle changes that can help you lower it.
If it’s very high, you may need to take medications to lower your blood pressure so that you can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. That doesn’t give you a free pass when it comes to lifestyle – but it does give you some relief while you work on making those changes.
Some people have high blood pressure that’s high due to genetics and there isn’t much you can do about it. But for most people changing some lifestyle factors will help – at least it will help to a degree.
If you’ve taken your own blood pressure and noticed that it seems on the high side, it’s a good idea to make an appointment to talk with your doctor about what your blood pressure means for you. Understanding what is high blood pressure can help you to take control of your health.