Know Your Blood Pressure
One of the most obvious and ignored risk factors is high blood pressure. Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke as well as kidney failure and other health problems.
Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and usually given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).
- The top number is your systolic pressure and is considered high if it is consistently over 140.
- The bottom number is your diastolic pressure and is considered high if it is consistently over 90.
Prehypertension is when your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139 or your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 on multiple readings. If you have prehypertension, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure leading to heart disease. You can readily purchase a home testing unit to monitor your blood pressure if you may be at risk.