May is National Blood Pressure Education Month, a month sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and also recognized by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This month aims to increase awareness of the causes of high blood pressure, as well as the risks associated with this “silent killer.”
Most people do not even realize they have high blood pressure. It is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and vascular dementia.
Here are some numbers from the CDC:
- 1 of 3 adults have high blood pressure
- 1 of 3 adults with high blood pressure do not get treatment
- 1 0f 2 adults with high blood pressure do not have it under control
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Family history and genetics
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits
- Race or ethnicity
What can you do to reduce your risk? First – know your numbers! Check your blood pressure regularly to develop a baseline and know when your blood pressure begins to rise.
Other ways to reduce your risk include:
- A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in sodium
- Moderate exercise – just 10 minutes, three times a day, five days a week can have a great impact!
- Quit smoking
There are many other resources and education videos out there to help you become more informed, listed below. If you are at increased risk for high blood pressure, make an appointment with your doctor to determine a treatment plan that is right for you.