2. What is Hypertension?
Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is
when the force of the blood pressing against the
walls of the arteries is too strong.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your
heart around your body.
Hypertension forces the heart to work harder to
pump blood and may cause the arteries to become
narrow or stiff.
3. How is it Measured?
A blood pressure reading includes a higher number over
a lower number:
The first, or top, number is called the systolic pressure. It
is a measure of the pressure in your arteries as your
The second, or bottom number, is called the diastolic
pressure. It is a measure of the pressure in your arteries
as the heart relaxes.
For most people, a normal blood pressure is below
120/80. Your personal target blood pressure may vary
depending on your medical conditions, your age, and
5. How Can Hypertension Affect Me?
Over time, hypertension can damage the arteries and decrease blood flow
to parts of the body, including the brain, heart, and kidneys.
Having untreated or uncontrolled hypertension can lead to:
A heart attack.
Memory and concentration problems.
6. WHAT ACTIONS CAN I TAKE TO
MANAGE THIS CONDITION?
Hypertension can be managed by making
lifestyle changes and possibly by taking
Your health care provider will help you make a
plan to bring your blood pressure within a
You may be referred for counseling on a
healthy diet and physical activity.
Eat a diet that is high in fiber and
potassium, and low in salt (sodium),
added sugar, and fat.
Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Eat whole grains, such as whole-wheat
pasta, brown rice, or whole-grain bread.
Eat low-fat dairy products.
Avoid fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, and
poultry with skin.
Avoid pre-made and processed foods. These tend to
be higher in sodium, added sugar, and fat.
Work with your health care provider to maintain a healthy body weight or to lose weight.
Ask what an ideal weight is for you.
Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Activities may include walking,
swimming, or biking.
Include exercise to strengthen your muscles , such as weight lifting, as part of your weekly
exercise routine. Try to do these types of exercises for 30 minutes at least 3 days a week.
Do not use any products that contain nicotine or
tobacco. These products include cigarettes, chewing
tobacco, and vaping devices, such as e-cigarettes.
Control other conditions you have, such as high
cholesterol or diabetes.
Identify your sources of stress and find ways to manage
stress. This may include meditation, deep breathing, or
making time for fun activities.
Your health care provider may prescribe medications if lifestyle changes
are not enough to get your blood pressure under control and if:
Your systolic blood pressure is 130 or higher.
Your diastolic blood pressure is 80 or higher.
Take medications only as told by your health care provider.
Follow the directions carefully.
Blood pressure medications must be taken as told by your health care
provider. The medicine does not work as well when you skip doses.
Skipping doses also puts you at risk for problems.
Talk with your health care provider about your diet,
exercise habits, and other lifestyle factors that may be
contributing to hypertension.
Review all the medications you take with your health
care provider because there may be side effects or
Keep all follow-up visits. Your health care provider
can help you create and adjust your plan for
managing your high blood pressure.