High Blood Pressure Screenings Can Save Your Life

About 75 million Americans, or one in three U.S. adults, live with high blood pressure. Only about half of these individuals have this common, serious condition under control.1 High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs and no symptoms. Having high blood pressure is dangerous because it increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death for Americans.

What is Blood Pressure?

It is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. But if it stays high for extended periods of time, it can damage your heart and lead to serious, life-threatening health problems.

What is Normal Blood Pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading is 120 systolic over 80 diastolic or slightly lower, written as 120/80. High blood pressure is 140 systolic over 90 diastolic or higher, written as 140/90. Recently, a national study group has recommended that 130/80 be considered at risk and discussed with your provider.2 The first number, systolic, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number, diastolic, measures the pressure when your heart rests between beats³.

Regular Blood Pressure Screenings

Most people do not realize they have high blood pressure. That is why it is important to visit your doctor on a regular basis and get your blood pressure checked. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how often you should have it checked.

Prevention

Leading a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the best things you can do to prevent or control high blood pressure and heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends these healthy habits to help keep blood pressure in check:

  • Work with your doctor to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Eat a heart healthy diet low in salt, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol
  • Eat 4-5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Stay physically active and aim for a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Quit smoking

Management

When lifestyle changes are not enough to control your condition, your provider may prescribe a statin to help manage coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease or prior stroke. Remember to take all medicines as prescribed and do not skip doses.

Your health and well-being are important to us! The Compass Rose Health Plan offers a free Care Management Program to eligible members. To see if you qualify, please call UMR at (866) 575-2540. We also have resources to help you quit smoking. Call UMR’s Tobacco Cessation Program at (800) 207-7680.

Sources: 1https://www.cdc.gov/HeartDisease/facts.htm, ²2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA PCNA Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults, November 13, 2017, ³https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm