Article By: Reena
Aggarwal, PharmD Candidate 2020, Mercer
University College of Pharmacy
to the American Heart Association, almost half of the United States adult
population has high blood pressure, or hypertension (some who might not even
realize it). Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel
walls when the heart is beating (systolic, top number) and resting between
beats (diastolic, bottom number). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm
Hg, and high blood pressure is more than 130/80 mm Hg and remains consistently
high over time.
are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it can be
dangerous. Taking a few minutes to check your blood pressure at your local
pharmacy or when you have an appointment with your healthcare provider can
ensure early management and treatment. Since there is no one specific cause of
high blood pressure, it’s important to try and control your modifiable risk factors
(ones you can change) to prevent further complications from occurring. If left
uncontrolled, there is a risk of stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart
attack, sexual dysfunction, and kidney disease/failure.
is at risk of developing high blood pressure?
and gender: males at higher risk until age 64, females if 65 and older
African Americans are more at risk compared to other racial backgrounds
of physical activity
diet, especially if high in sodium
and tobacco use
conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease)
changes can you make?
at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week (i.e. brisk
diet: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains
sodium, red meat, trans and saturated fats, and sweets and sugary drinks
weight: as little as 5-10 pounds can help
alcohol intake: no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for
smoking and/or using tobacco
other health conditions
your doctor to get started on appropriate medications if you are not seeing an improvement
in your numbers
than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says. www.heart.org.
Published January 31, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2020.
Blood Pressure. www.heart.org.
https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure. Accessed February