What is high blood pressure?

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. A normal blood pressure is defined as a) the top number being less than 120mm Hg and b) the bottom being less than 80mm Hg.

Risk factors for high blood pressure:

1.       Age – advancing age is associated with increase blood pressure

2.       Obesity – obesity and weight gain are major risk factors for hypertension

3.       Family history – hypertension is about twice as common in subjects who have one or two hypertensive parents

4.       Race – hypertension tends to be more common, be more severe, occur earlier in life, and be associated with greater target-organ damage in African Americans

5.       High sodium (salt) diet – excess sodium intake (> 3 grams/day) increases the risk for hypertension

6.       Excessive alcohol consumption – excess alcohol intake is associated with the development of hypertension

7.       Physical inactivity – no physical activity increases the risk for hypertension

How to treat hypertension?

1.       Dietary salt restriction

2.       Weight loss

3.       DASH diet – high vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts, and low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meats

4.       Exercise

5.       Limited alcohol intake

6.       Talk with your provider regarding medication management