Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. It’s a vital part of how your heart and circulation works.
Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down all the time, adjusting to your heart’s needs depending on what you are doing. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal. High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have yours measured. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Many things can affect your blood pressure through the day, so your doctor will take a number of blood pressure readings to see that it stays high over time.
Steps to Control Your Blood Pressure
- Know your numbers – Most people diagnosed with high blood pressure want to stay below 130/80 mm Hg, but your healthcare provider can tell you your personal target blood pressure.
- Work with your doctor – Your healthcare provider will help you make a plan to lower your blood pressure.
- Make a few lifestyle changes – Maintain a healthy weight. Eat healthier. Reduce sodium. Get active. Limit alcohol.
- Keep checking your blood pressure at home – Take ownership of your treatment by tracking your blood pressure.
- Take your medication – If you have to take medication, take it exactly the way your doctor says.