Get Your Blood Pressure in Check
High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can cause complications such as coronary heart disease, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke and other health problems. You have high blood pressure when the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high. If your health care provider has diagnosed you with the condition, he or she will help you create a plan to lower your blood pressure. It is important that you ask questions and discuss dietary and medication options.
The American Heart Association recommends the following lifestyle changes to help you take control of your blood pressure:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Strive for a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Eat healthier. Eat lots of fruit, veggies and low-fat dairy, and less saturated and total fat.
- Reduce sodium. Ideally, stay under 1,500 mg a day, but aim for at least a 1,000 mg per day reduction.
- Get active. Aim for at least 90 to 150 minutes of aerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise per week and/or three sessions of isometric resistance exercises per week.
- Limit alcohol. Drink no more than 1-2 drinks a day. (One for most women, two for most men.)
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which raises as weight increases. Monitoring your waistline also is important. Too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes you can make to control your blood pressure. Read food labels when you shop for groceries and choose healthy options when dining out. Keeping a food diary also may be beneficial for monitoring what you eat and how much.
Monitoring your blood pressure can help you know whether your lifestyle changes are working. Purchase a blood pressure monitor to track your blood pressure. It can alert you if an increase in your blood pressure requires immediate medical attention.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure(the upper number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure(the lower number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Blood pressure is categorized into five ranges:
- Normal blood pressure – blood pressure numbers that are within the normal (optimal) range of less than 120/80 mm Hg.
- Prehypertension (early stage high blood pressure) – blood pressure is consistently ranging from 120-139/80-89 mm Hg.
- Hypertension Stage 1 – blood pressure is consistently ranging from 140-159/90-99 mm Hg.
- Hypertension Stage 2 – blood pressure is consistently ranging at levels greater than 160/100 mm Hg.
- Hypertensive crisis – blood pressure is higher than 180/110 mm Hg. Seek emergency medical attention.
There is no cure for high blood pressure. Taking prescribed medications properly and making positive lifestyle changes can help improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of serious health problems. Carmichael’s Retail Pharmacy provides walk-in sales of prescription blood pressure medications and complementary products such as arm cuffs and blood pressure monitors that do not require a prescription.
Carmichael’s Pharmacies offer additional ways to refill prescriptions. Our interactive voice response (IVR) system is available for requests for any non-emergency prescriptions and refills past our normal hours of operation. You can refill online and, on the Carmichael’s, “RxLocal” app that can be downloaded on Android and iPhone mobile devices. We can ship certain home medical products directly to your residence from our in-house UPS station within one to three business days.