Are you one of the 33% of Americans who have high blood pressure?
If you answered yes, are you being careful to control your blood pressure? Half of all people with high blood pressure do not have it properly controlled.
Or, could you be among the 12 million Americans who have high blood pressure but don’t know it?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, puts people at a high risk for heart disease. Heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the United States, but a quick and easy test can easily reveal high blood pressure.
Get checked to protect your heart and health.
Blood pressure screening is a part of preventative health. Most health insurance plans must cover a set of preventive services, like blood pressure screening, at no cost to you. This includes plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
It is best to get checked by a professional so that it can be done correctly and accurately. The test is quick, simple, and non-invasive. You should always record your results to compare them each time you get checked. Talk to your doctor if you notice an increase. If you see different doctors, a diagnosis may be missed.
You can get checked at your:
- Doctor’s office. Schedule a preventative health check-up with your physician and make sure you discuss your blood pressure test results.
- Dentist’s office. Yes, you read that correctly. Maryland has recognized that people often see their dentist more regularly than their doctor. The Maryland Department of Health is partnering with dentists so you can have your blood pressure checked when you get your teeth cleaned.
- Local pharmacy. Many pharmacies are equipped with blood pressure monitors, and pharmacists are often trained to help customers with the test and understanding the results.
You should try to relax when checking your blood pressure, so that your test results will be accurate. If you get a high reading, you can ask to be checked again at the end of your appointment, after you’ve had some time to settle in and relax.
What do the numbers mean?
When you get your blood pressure checked, the result will be a pair of numbers. For example, the health professional may tell you, “Your blood pressure is 110 over 72,” or 110/72. The first, or top number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the highest pressure, and happens when your heart beats and pushes blood through your body. The second number, or bottom one, is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest pressure and occurs when your heart relaxes between beats.
Take charge of your blood pressure.
Along with getting checked, protecting your heart also includes a healthy diet and lifestyle. Check out Lisa’s post and visit the American Heart Association website for more tips on preventing heart disease.