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Did you know that 1 in every 3 Americans has high blood pressure? High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading factor for death across the world, causing heart attacks and strokes.

Hypertension occurs when your blood pressure stays higher than a normal level for a long period of time. This puts a continuous strain on your heart. 2.7 million adults in North Carolina have been diagnosed with hypertension, and each year hypertension contributes to 28% of deaths in North Carolina.

Hypertension is sometimes called “the silent killer.” The condition does not usually present any signs or symptoms, and some people go years without realizing they have it. That’s why it’s so important to have your blood pressure checked by your provider. For most patients, a normal blood pressure reading is less than or equal to 120/80 mmHg, and a high blood pressure reading is 140/90 mmHg or higher.

Keeping your blood pressure at a normal level helps prevent against dangerous cardiovascular events that can lead to death. 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% of people who have a first stroke, and 74% of people who have chronic heart failure also have high blood pressure.

Fortunately, you can lower your risk for serious health problems by controlling your blood pressure. There are several medications available to treat high blood pressure. You can work with your doctor to figure out if and what medication might be right for you. If you have been prescribed blood pressure medication, taking it regularly will help you stay healthy and avoid a heart attack and stroke.

There are also changes you can make at home to control your blood pressure, or to avoid having high blood pressure in the future:

  • Eating a diet that is low in salt, fat and cholesterol, and high in fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Being active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Avoiding tobacco use and quitting smoking if you are a smoker

Talk to your doctor today about what you can do for your blood pressure.