Living with Hypertension

If you're among the one in three Americans with high blood pressure, odds are you know it raises your risk for a heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. Learn more ›

Helping Control Your High Blood Pressure

Nearly one in three Americans has high blood pressure. If you are among them, you know that you can manage the condition with your health care provider's help. In most cases, high blood pressure responds to treatment, but the success of the treatment is up to you.

Normal blood pressure is any reading less than 120/80. If your blood pressure reading is between 120/80 and 139/89, you have "prehypertension," which means you are likely to develop high blood pressure if you don't take action to prevent it. High blood pressure is a reading of 140/90 or higher.

Even if you don't have high blood pressure, or hypertension, it's a good idea to get your blood pressure checked once a year. That's because high blood pressure generally does not produce symptoms that you can see or feel.

Learn more ways to control your high blood pressure

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Managing Hypertension with the DASH Diet

What you eat can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease.

One such diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, has been shown to reduce blood pressure. This diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), blood pressure can be unhealthy even if it stays only slightly above 120/80 mm Hg. The higher above that level, the greater your health risk. Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work too hard, which can cause stroke, hardening of the arteries, heart failure, kidney disease, and even blindness.

Learn more about the DASH diet

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Did You Know?

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The amount of alcohol you drink has nothing to do with your blood pressure.