High blood pressure

Put simply, your blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood circulating in your body against the walls of your blood vessels. When your blood pressure creeps above normal levels, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. What's the big deal? Glad you asked.

What are the risks?

Untreated high blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to serious damage to your body, putting you at risk for heart disease and heart attack; stroke; kidney failure; nerve damage to your eyes; dementia; and even sexual dysfunction. We think those risks are reason enough to take care of your body — and make sure your blood pressure is in a healthy range.

Lifestyle adjustments can get you back to healthy

The good news is that if your blood pressure registers on the high side, you can make simple adjustments to your lifestyle that will bring your numbers — and risk — back down. Some people with high blood pressure take medication, but for many, the lifestyle adjustments alone are enough to put pressure in its place.

Keep these simple guidelines in mind, whether or not you have high blood pressure:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight. We have great resources to help you do that.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. One of the best diets out there to help with high blood pressure is the DASH diet.
  3. Exercise (move) more. Physical activity is a boon to your health in just about every way, including helping to keep your blood pressure in check.
  4. Quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco. We have resources to help you kick the habit.
  5. Drink less alcohol, or give it up altogether. Drinking too much can have a negative effect on your blood pressure.
  6. Limit the salt in your diet. Two things you can do to help keep your salt in balance are to read food labels and eat fewer processed foods.
  7. Stress less. Your emotional well-being is important to your overall health.
  8. Monitor your blood pressure often (at home). Talk to your doctor about how — and where — to purchase the equipment to keep tabs on your pressure at home.