Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects about 76 million Americans and nearly 1 billion people worldwide. People often think they don't have to worry about high blood pressure until they are 50 years of age or older, but 19 percent of women and 25 percent of men 35 to 44 have it. No matter your age, it's important to know your blood pressure numbers, as high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
Blood pressure is measured by the amount of blood pumped and the strength of resistance in your arteries. As the amount of blood pumped increases and your arteries narrow, the higher your blood pressure will register. 120 over 80 is considered normal for most adults. 140 over 90 is considered high, and if readings are 180 over 110, it's considered a hypertensive crisis.
"If you know that you have high blood pressure and you're not working to get into your target range, you are gambling with your health," Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, chief medical officer of Pfizer, says.
Hypertension can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vision loss.
According to the Mayo Clinic, people suffering from high blood pressure may experience few to no symptoms. When hyptertension becomes severe, patients may experience headaches, dizziness or nosebleeds.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that reducing the sodium in your diet can help manage your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, or are over 51 years old or African American, you should eat no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. The average American eats about 3,300 milligrams a day.
Learn how to take your blood pressure at home correctly, and which foods have high sodium content.
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