Are You at Risk for High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing on the walls of your blood vessels is higher than it should be. This condition, also known as hypertension, doesn’t have any symptoms. That’s why it can be very dangerous. Over time, high blood pressure can cause damage to your heart and other organs without you noticing. This can lead to serious complications, like heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure.
To find out if you have high blood pressure, have your blood pressure checked at your doctor’s office or at a pharmacy.
Checking Your Risk Factors
High blood pressure can affect anyone, but you may be more at risk if you:
- Have a family history of high blood pressure
- Are African-American
- Are Latino or Latina
- Are overweight/obese
- Don’t exercise
- Eat a lot of salty foods
- Drink too much alcohol
- Are pregnant
The more risk factors you have, the greater the chance of your having high blood pressure now or in the future. A simple blood pressure test can help you determine if you have high blood pressure.
To prevent or control high blood pressure:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat meals low in salt (sodium), saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, and added sugars.
- Limit alcohol. Aim for one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
- Be physically active. Do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity 5 times per week.
- Quit smoking and chewing tobacco.