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What’s Going Around: High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries that carry blood from your heart to all other parts of your body. It normally rises and fall throughout the day, but can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for too long of a time. Anna Testa joined us today to educate us on high blood pressure and how you can lower your chances of getting it.

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure puts you at the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death in the United States. About 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, which means about one in every three adults has higher blood pressure numbers than normal. Certain medical issues, such as prehypertension and diabetes can put you at a higher chance of deloping high blood pressure as well.

Only about half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Unhealthy behaviors can increase, or add to your high blood pressure, especially for people who have one of the medical conditions stated above. Such unhealthy behaviors include smoking tobacco, eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium, not getting enough physical activity, obesity and drinking too much alcohol.

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms so many people don't' even realize they have it. There's only one way to know for sure whether you have high blood pressure and that is by having a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.

Keeping your blood pressure levels in a healthy range usually involves taking medications, reducing sodium in your diet, getting daily physical activity and not smoking. The Utah Department of Health has also implemented a BeWise program which provides cardiovascular health screening and health coaching to eligible Utah women. The program partners with the Utah Cancer Control Program to link women to screening for breast and cervical cancers.

BeWise is for women ages 40 to 64, who are mid to low income, underinsured or uninsured. The goal of BeWise is to provide women with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to improve their diet, physical activity and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent delay and control cardiovascular or other chronic diseases. +

For more information, visit call 1-800-717-1811.