High Blood Pressure and Your Health

July 8, 2024

First Stop Health

Learn about what high blood pressure is, what the numbers associated with it are and tips to control it.


Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff (also called a sphygmomanometer — quite a mouthful!). If the pressure is too high, over time, arteries become damaged and blood flow is impeded. Plaque and clot formations may develop and organs such as the kidneys can be damaged. It is important for proper technique to be used when measuring blood pressure and the use of validated home blood pressure monitoring devices can be beneficial.


Blood pressure measures the pressure exerted on arteries as blood is pumped through the body by the heart. The measurement includes two numbers:



The below chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association. By keeping your blood pressure in the healthy range, you are:

  • Reducing the risk of the walls of your blood vessels becoming overstretched and injured.
  • Reducing your risk of having a heart attack or stroke; and of developing heart failure, kidney failure and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Protecting your entire body so that your tissue receives regular supplies of blood, complete with the oxygen it needs.




Here are ten tips to control your blood pressure:

  1. Get in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. You can do 30 minutes once a day or scatter this time throughout the day — 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a day, 15 minutes of exercise 2 times a day or whatever works for you!
  2. Strength and resistance training have also proven beneficial in controlling blood pressure.
  3. Enjoy more fruits, vegetables, fat free or 1% low-fat milk products, whole grains, beans and nuts.
  4. Choose foods rich in potassium (like lentils and prunes), calcium (like yogurt and broccoli), and magnesium (like edamame and spinach) — three minerals that have been associated with lower blood pressure.
  5. Consume alcohol in moderation, if at all. It's recommended that women have only 1 drink per day and men have only 2 drinks per day. Instead, swap alcoholic beverages for sparkling water or tea.
  6. Reduce your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day. You can do this by avoiding adding extra salt and looking for hidden sources of sodium.
  7. Limit saturated and trans-fat for overall heart health.
  8. Eat at home on most days and prepare foods with more herbs and spices instead of more salt, butter and oil.
  9. Avoid smoking as much as possible.


Care you will love.


Sources: http://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardiology/articles/2017/11/08/11/47/mon-5pm-bp-guideline-aha-2017, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Sodium-and-Salt_UCM_303290_Article.jsp, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Prevention-Treatment-of-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_002054_Article.jsp

Originally published Jul 8, 2024 3:18:27 PM.