Are you hypertensive?

blood pressure

One out of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. However, “because there are no symptoms, many people with high blood pressure may not know it,” said Camille Campisano, M.D., general practice. “If left untreated, uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney failure or aneurisms.”

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries, and is determined by the amount of blood pumped by the heart. High blood pressure adds to the work of your heart and can damage your arteries.

“Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a blood pressure reading of 140/90 (read 140 over 90) or higher,” Dr. Campisano said. “Prehypertension is a systolic (top number) blood pressure reading between 120 and 139, and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure reading between 80 and 89.” If you are prehypertensive, it is likely you will eventually develop high blood pressure unless you take action.

Many of the items found in household refrigerators, sodas particularly, have been found to have negative effects on blood pressure. A recent Harvard University study found that having four or more colas daily increased a person’s risk of high blood pressure by 28 percent (sugared) and 18 percent (diet). That’s another reason to drink your eight glasses of water a day!

“You can control high blood pressure with simple lifestyle modifications such as controlling your diet, getting regular exercise, limiting intake of alcohol, salt and sodas, and not smoking,” Dr. Campisano said. “Anyone is at risk for high blood pressure. Regular blood pressure checkups are a  necessity for the maintenance of a healthy heart.”

–Laila Atta