You can reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) — and the subsequent risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, headache and heart failure — by doing the following:
- Reduce your sodium intake
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Limit alcohol intake
- Get regular physical activity
- Avoid tobacco use
What is a high blood pressure reading?
The American Heart Association lists optimal blood pressure as less than 120/80 mm Hg (systolic pressure of 120 and diastolic pressure of less than 80). A single high reading of blood pressure is not an immediate cause for alarm. However, if you get a high reading, the AHA advises you to take your blood pressure while at rest (for at least five minutes) and if it’s persistently high, consult your healthcare professional.
Regardless of these optimal blood pressure figures, Dr. Peter Arvan of the University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine says that both the American Heart and American Diabetes Associations are now recognizing systolic blood pressures between 130 and 140 as a potential risk, and values above 140 as definite hypertension for which blood pressure-lowering medications may be indicated, based on an individual’s health history. The key, he says, “is getting the numbers just right for the individual patient.”
Download our high blood pressure chart PDF
Download the Lifestyle Modifications to Manage High Blood Pressure PDF for more information on how the above changes in your lifestyle can result in lower systolic blood pressure.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is the top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit the Heart and Vascular page on UofMHealth.org.