High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms, which is why everyone should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Learn more about this serious condition and how you can reduce its threat.
Know your numbers:
- The only way to know if you have high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, is to measure it.
- Ask to have your pressure checked at your doctor’s office. It’s quick and painless. You can also use a blood pressure machine available at many pharmacies.
- There are two numbers in your blood pressure reading:
- Your systolic pressure (the first or top number) measures the pressure of blood against artery walls when the heart pumps blood out during a heartbeat.
- Your diastolic pressure (the second or bottom number) measures the same pressure between the heartbeats, when the heart fills with blood.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80 (120/80).
Ask your doctor:
- Many doctors think an adult’s blood pressure should not be higher than 140/90. Other doctors now think numbers above 130/80 are too high.
- If your doctor thinks your numbers are too high, he or she will tell you how to make changes to help lower the numbers. Your doctor may also prescribe medicine to lower the pressure.
If left untreated, high blood pressure can hurt important organs in your body by:
- Keeping your heart from getting enough blood and oxygen.
- Causing a stroke.
- Causing chronic kidney disease.
If high blood pressure is caught early-on, lifestyle changes can help:
- Take the medicine your doctor prescribes.
- Lose weight if needed by following a diet that’s low in sodium and higher in potassium from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is a good example.
- Try to get at least half an hour of exercise most days of the week.
- Lower your stress. Try mind-body exercises like yoga and tai chi. Listen to calming music.
If your QualChoice plan includes QCARE, we can help! Our Care Managers help members set and reach health and well-being goals. They also give support and education on issues like:
- Lowering high blood pressure
- Improving diet
- Handling stress
- Increasing activities
- Stopping tobacco use
For one-on-one coaching, call 800.235.7111 or 501.228.7111 and ask to speak to a Care Manager.*
*Health plans vary. Check with your employer or plan administrator to see if QCARE is included.