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Get Healthy Carson City: Hypertension and you: More pressure on health

Cortney Bloomer and Valerie Cauhape
Carson City Health and Human Services

We’ve all seen the automated blood pressure cuff at the pharmacy, and having your blood pressure measured is considered standard procedure at doctor’s visits. However, many people don’t understand what their blood pressure is, or the health consequences that can come from having high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It is associated with an increased risk of many serious illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart failure and pulmonary artery disease, just to name a few.

To better understand if you might have high blood pressure, it is important to know what the numbers mean. Your blood pressure will be read as two numbers, such as “120 over 70.” The first number is the amount of pressure on the walls of your arteries when your heart contracts to pump blood. This is called systolic pressure. The second number, called diastolic pressure, is measured when the heart relaxes between beats and the pressure drops.

Blood pressure readings are considered “pre-hypertensive” when they are at or over 120/80. Stage 1 Hypertensive readings are 140/90 to 159/99, and Stage 2 Hypertension is classified as being at or above 160/100.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 68 million Americans have high blood pressure. To make sure you are doing everything you can to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range, have it checked regularly. Maintaining a normal body weight, exercising regularly, and following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in sodium are all ways to reduce your risk for hypertension. Also, don’t smoke, and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

Unfortunately, for some people diet and exercise alone may not regulate or reduce your blood pressure, in which case medication may be necessary. If you already have high blood pressure and are prescribed medication, make sure you take it as directed by your doctor.

High blood pressure is an important health concern. However, by being aware of your risk factors for chronic disease and living a healthy lifestyle, you can take charge of your health.

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org or visit us on Facebook at Carson City Health and Human Services.

Clinics

Carson City Health and Human Services

900 East Long St.

775-887-2195

Clinic hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Wednesday and Friday, by appointment.

Well Child Clinics: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays

Men’s Clinics: 4-6 p.m. Mondays by appointment.

Immunization Day clinics: 8:30-11:30 a.m.; 1-4:30 p.m. Thursdays. No appointment needed.