How to know if you have high blood pressure and what to do to keep it low


What is the difference between blood pressure in the normal range and hypertension? Few people actually know, as a study published in Medical Decision Making (MDM) explains, revealing that less than half of Americans can distinguish between normal blood pressure and hypertension. And that’s certainly not good, since we know that keeping blood pressure in the normal range is so important for preventing heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

How to know if you have high blood pressure and what to do to keep it low

If we do not know what values distinguish normal blood pressure from high blood pressure and hypertension, it can happen that we underestimate our health status and run into problems.

How to understand blood pressure values

The range of values that define normal blood pressure help us understand whether we have normal, high or hypertensive blood pressure.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) over two values. The first indicates systolic pressure (the so-called “maximum”) and corresponds to the time when the heart pumps blood into the arteries; the second value is diastolic pressure (the “minimum”), measured at the time when the heart relaxes.

How to tell if you have high blood pressure

To know how to assess the state of our blood pressure, we can adopt these criteria.
The ideal values are those of 120/80 mm Hg, always keeping in mind that having a high maximum exposes more to cardiovascular risk.
If up to values of 130/85 mm Hg we talk about pressure in the normal range, conditions that can be curbed with a healthy lifestyle: physical activity, proper diet, regular blood pressure checks (here’s how to do it with a free app).
Going up increases the risk even more:

between 140/90 and 160/100 we talk about grade 1 hypertension
between 160/100 and 180/110 a grade 2 hypertension
over 180/110 this is grade 3 hypertension

That is, these are conditions that need to be addressed with medication prescribed by the treating physician.


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How to keep high blood pressure under control

Here, the best directions for the proper prevention of hypertension:
1. Do regular physical activity (recreational walking, running, bicycling)
2. Follow a diet rich in magnesium and potassium (cereals, fruits, vegetables, citrus fruits, the Mediterranean diet in short)
3. Control your body weight (that’s what you need to watch out for)
4. Moderate alcohol consumption
5. Stop smoking
6. Limit stressful conditions (including with stress-relieving sports)
7. Reduce salt intake and consumption of foods such as cold cuts and cheese
9. Reduce consumption of animal fats, which contain cholesterol (here are 10 tips to lower cholesterol)
9. Limit the consumption of licorice


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