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Ask Dr. Leavitt--I have high blood pressure. What is normal blood pressure and how can I get there?

I’ve been told I have high blood pressure. What is normal blood pressure and what can I do to get there?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is elevated arterial blood pressure in your system.

Normal blood pressure is <120/80mmHg.

Prehypertension is 120-139/80-89mmHg.

Stage 1 hypertension is 140-159/90-99mmHg.

Stage 2 hypertension is >=160/100mmHg.

Persistent hypertension is one of the risk factors for stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and arterial aneurysm, and is a leading cause of chronic kidney failure. Moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure leads to shortened life expectancy.

Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications, although drug treatment may prove necessary in patients for whom lifestyle changes prove ineffective or insufficient. Here are some excellent ways to lower your blood pressure:

  • Eliminate or effectively handle stress
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Eat a heart-healthy balanced diet
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise every day
  • Get quality sleep
  • Take an aspirin (81mg) each day
  • Drink plenty of water

Medicine can serve as a temporary way to keep your blood pressure normalized until your lifestyle changes serve to lower blood pressure on their own. Be sure to sit down and talk with your family doctor about getting your blood pressure to normal. It can add years to your life and life to your years!

At Leavitt Family Medicine, we are here for you. We welcome your questions and comments; Let us know how we can help you today!

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