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P1215 Women and Heart Disease

C H A P T E R 2 MANAGING HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE Your blood pressure isn’t just a reading at your healthcare provider’s office. It can predict your risk for heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Simply put, the higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk for these and other deadly diseases. The blood pressure reading is written as two numbers, the systolic pressure (the first, or “top” number) and the diastolic pressure (the second, or “bottom” number). Systolic is the measure of pressure when your heart beats (contracts) and blood flow is strongest. Diastolic is the measure of the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when blood pushes too hard against artery walls as it travels through the arteries. This damages the lining of the blood vessels. If your blood pressure is 120/80 or higher, you’re at risk. High blood pressure raises your risk of heart attack and especially of stroke. Untreated high blood pressure can, over the course of years, translate to hardening of the arteries, or damage to the kidneys or heart. If you have hypertension or pre-hypertension, you can lower your blood pressure by making changes to your lifestyle. Your healthcare provider can help you determine what changes you need to make and how to make them. For healthy adults, these are the elements of a healthy lifestyle: 77 Not smoking or quitting smoking if you do smoke. 77 Maintaining a healthy weight, or a BMI below 25. (See Chapter 8.) 77 Getting at least 30 minutes of moderately strenuous physical activity most days. 77 Buy low-salt or salt-free commercially prepared foods, and use little or no table salt. Sodium is added to commercially processed or prepared foods and is in table salt. 77 Eating 2 1/2 cups of different-colored vegetables a day. 77 Eating foods high in potassium, such as kiwis, beets and oranges. 77 Eating fewer foods from animals to avoid saturated fat. 77 Using only nonfat or low-fat dairy products. 77 Drinking alcohol only in moderation, if at all. This means no more than two beers, one glass of wine, or one mixed drink daily. It’s easier to control high blood pressure if you do not drink alcohol, however. 77 Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If Your Blood Pressure Numbers Are: Then: Less than 120/80 Your range is normal Between You have elevated 120-129/<80 blood pressure Between 130-139/80-89 You have Stage 1 Hypertension Greater than or equal to 140/90 You have Stage 2 Hypertension 8 abcardio.org


P1215 Women and Heart Disease
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