May is High Blood Pressure Awareness Month
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How common is high blood pressure?
It may come as a surprise because of how quiet of a condition high blood pressure can appear on the outside, but it is said that ONE IN THREE adults currently have hypertension.
Only 24% of those who have hypertension, have their condition under control.
Why is this alarming and need to be monitored? Especially here in Nashville? High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease or stroke. This is a big problem in the Middle Tennessee area as heart disease is the #1 cause of death annually.
Due to most pharmacies and grocery stores now having digital blood pressure machines available, it is now easier than ever to monitor your blood pressure in between wellness visits.
But how do you get the most accurate reading?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a few tips to get an accurate reading.
- Don’t eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit with your back supported for 5 minutes before your reading.
- Sit with both feet flat on the ground; legs uncrossed.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight.
- Place the cuff against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Try not to talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
When measuring your blood pressure you will find two numbers in your reading.
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
What’s a “normal” reading? A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg.