National Blood Pressure Month

May is National Blood Pressure Month, so what better time to learn a little bit about blood pressure? While you know that it’s important to check your blood pressure on a regular basis and you might know your blood pressure numbers, you might not put that knowledge to good use. High blood pressure can be a problem even if you have no symptoms, so it makes sense to be aware of those numbers, and to take action if they’re not quite where they should be.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is considered a disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a third of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. That’s roughly 67 million people, so to say that high blood pressure is common is a bit of an understatement. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a problem or that high blood pressure can be ignored.

There’s an incredible number of health complications that can come as a result of hypertension. High blood pressure can damage your heart, your arteries, and your kidneys, as well as other organs in your body. Hypertension may also lead to vision loss, memory loss, and increase the possibility of a stroke or heart attack. Needless to say, high blood pressure poses a threat to some very important parts of your body.

Sometimes hypertension can lead to chronic headaches, nosebleeds, and dizziness, but according to the American Heart Association these symptoms won’t necessarily manifest, and they don’t necessarily indicate hypertension. One of the things that makes hypertension so dangerous is the fact that it can often go unnoticed. You may have high blood pressure but not show any symptoms at all. It’s often called, “the silent killer” for that very reason. That’s why it’s so important to check your blood pressure on a regular basis.

So what should you do if your blood pressure is higher than it should be?

Your gender, genetics, and age can all influence your risk of hypertension. While those things are beyond your control, you do have control over other factors.If you’re not happy with your numbers, consider these steps:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Regular visits to your physician
  • Quit smoking or don’t start

If you are happy with your blood pressure numbers, these are still good choices to make — so your future blood pressure readings will still make you happy.