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Hypertension: Why Your Numbers Matter


high blood pressure monitor
photo by canva

1.13 1 in 5 1 in 4


Why should these numbers be important to you? There are 1.13 billion people diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension) in the world. 1 out of 5 women and 1 in 4 men in the World are diagnosed with high blood pressure. These numbers are remarkable and only growing from year to year. This article will define high blood pressure, ways to detect it, when to seek help, and how to manage high blood pressure.


WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?

The American Heart Association (AHA) defines a normal or ideal blood pressure level as less than 120/80 mmHg. Hypertension is a blood pressure greater than 130/80 mmHg. It is normal for blood pressure to rise and lower throughout the day, however, if blood pressure is consistently elevated, it can be a sign of hypertension.


WARNING SIGNS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because most times there are no warning signs that blood pressure is increasing. It is important to have blood pressure monitored regularly. Elevated blood pressure is defined as systolic (top number) readings between 120-129 mmHg and a diastolic (bottom number) reading > 80mmHg. When and if symptoms occur, they can include headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeats, and vision changes.


Stage 1 hypertension is when blood pressure readings consistently read between 130/80 and 139/89 mmHg. Stage 2 high blood pressure occurs when readings are ≥140/90 mmHg.

Blood Pressure Category

Systolic mm Hg (upper number)

​and/or

Diastolic mmHg (lower number)

Normal

Less than 120

and

Less than 80

Elevated

120 - 129

and

Less than 80

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1

130 - 139

or

80 - 89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2

140 or higher

or

90 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (consult your doctor immediately)

Higher than 180

and/or

Higher than 120

Talk to your physician if you notice your numbers to be in these ranges, so that your physician can help you lay out the next best steps to improve your health.

KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP

It can be difficult to pinpoint the best time to seek help because most people do not have symptoms. If you have symptoms listed above, it is time to seek help from your provider because you may be indicated for treatment.

If high blood pressure goes untreated, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, and other complications.

Several options are available to help improve blood pressure control. Making behavior changes to diet and exercise along with taking medications can help manage high blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke. There are modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors that cause high blood pressure. Modifiable risk factors are those that can be controlled by changing behaviors. Unmodifiable risk factors are characteristics out of a person's control.


MODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS - Diet - Physical inactivity - Tobacco and alcohol use - Being overweight or obese

UNMODIFIABLE RISK FACTORS - Family history - Age (>65 years old) - Co-existing medical conditions (diabetes or kidney disease)


- Follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet: rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and most importantly sodium (salt) restriction/reduction to <1500 mg per day. Find more information about how to limit salt intake here.

- Exercise: work towards getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week (75 minutes of more vigorous activity) spread over 3 to 4 days.

- Quit smoking, vaping, and avoid second had smoker.

- Reduce alcohol consumption. It is recommended for women to have less than 1 drink a day and men less than 2 drinks a day.


In conclusion, high blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions effecting Americans today. It is important to have your blood pressure routinely checked by a health care provider. Making behavior changes and working with a health care provider can improve blood pressure and prevent complications from untreated and uncontrolled blood pressure.


TRIA HEALTH CAN HELP

Tria Health can help you understand your risks of high blood pressure and what you can do to take better care of your heart. Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. High blood pressure is one of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!


QUESTIONS?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742


SOURCES


REVIEWED BY

Sarah Ochs Annie Tribble Maggie Lewis

PharmD, CDCES, CSOWM PharmD, CDCES PharmD, CDCES


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