Did you know that uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke? Today 1 in 3 US adults (70 million) have high blood pressure and only a little over half (52%) of these people have it controlled.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” as often has no warning or symptoms, so many people don’t even know they have it, so now it is the time to find out what is your blood pressure and take control. Knowing your numbers is the first step to help you control blood pressure.

Blood pressure has two numbers, and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The top one is called systolic pressure which measures the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart. The bottom number is called diastolic pressure which measures the force that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats.

The normal range for blood pressure is less than 120 for systolic and less than 80 for diastolic. You are prehypertensive if your systolic reads between 120 and 139 and your diastolic reads 80–89. You have hypertension if your systolic is 140 or greater, or diastolic is 90 or greater.

High blood pressure can be prevented and controlled just by making simple lifestyle changes such as implementing healthy diet, staying active, quit smoking, moderate alcohol intake and by taking medication if necessary.

For more information about National High Blood Pressure Education Month please read here.