Hypertension Education

Helping you better understand and address this common condition

Understanding and Treating High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a measure of the force your blood flow creates against your arterial walls as it circulates throughout your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but when it remains elevated for a long period of time, it can cause hypertension, or high blood pressure. When left untreated, this condition can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious complications. It’s estimated that one in three American adults, or approximately 67 million people, have high blood pressure. Fortunately, along with lifestyle changes such as diet, there are many medications that can safely be used to manage high blood pressure.

Knowing the risk factors

There are several factors that can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure. If high blood pressure runs in your family, it can increase your risk. Other factors include age, diet, weight, stress levels and genetics. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and a sedentary lifestyle can also put you at risk of developing high blood pressure.

Understanding the numbers

Because high blood pressure doesn’t always display obvious symptoms, it’s important to have it measured regularly. Blood pressure readings are captured in pairs, with the upper (systolic) value listed first, followed by the lower (diastolic) value. The systolic value indicates the amount of pressure in your arteries during contraction of your heart muscle. The diastolic value indicates your blood pressure when your heart rests between beats. Generally speaking, it’s best to maintain a reading of less than 120/80.

Sunset Health offers an educational program designed to support individuals with hypertension. This program provides information and activities on managing this condition and preventing it from worsening into more serious issues. Ask your Sunset Health provider for more information.

Health tip

Think Meditation

Meditating regularly can reduce blood pressure by helping you deal with stress and emotional swings in a more positive and healthful way.