Manage High Blood Pressure
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries when your heart pumps blood. Arteries are the tubes that carry blood away from your heart. Every time your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries to the rest of your body.
Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for too long (also known as hypertension).
Do You Have High Blood Pressure? Know Your Numbers.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it tested. Understanding those results can help you manage or control high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association, these are healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges (click on the chart below for more information):
It is important that people with high blood pressure monitor their blood pressure regularly. Being aware of your numbers can alert you to any changes or patterns.
Ask a doctor or nurse to check your blood pressure at your next visit. Write down your blood pressure numbers so you'll remember them.
You can also find blood pressure machines at many shopping malls, pharmacies, and grocery stores. Most of these machines are free to use.
If you want to check your blood pressure at home, you can buy a home blood pressure monitor at a drug store.
Measuring Blood Pressure at Home
How to use a home blood pressure monitor:
- Be still. Don't smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
- Sit correctly. Sit with your back straight and supported (on a dining chair, rather than a sofa). Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface (such as a table) with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor's instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
- Measure at the same time every day. It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
- Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a printable (PDF) or online tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
- Don't take the measurement over clothes.
|American Heart Association|
If You Have High Blood Pressure, What Should You Do Next?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and you have healthcare coverage, check with your provider to see what resources are available to you.
Here are some additional resources, where you can get help. Remember, you are not alone!
Team-based care that includes you, your doctor, and other health care providers can help reduce and control blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are just as important as medications. Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications. Do not stop taking your medications before talking to your doctor or pharmacist. All drugs may have side effects, so talk to your doctor regularly. As your blood pressure improves, your doctor will check it often.
The ADH has Lifestyle Coaches in every region of the state. Lifestyle Coaches have been trained to help you set and meet goals to live a healthier life. You will learn to:
- Eat healthy without giving up all the foods you love
- Add physical activity to your life, even if you don’t think you have time
- Deal with stress
- Cope with challenges that can derail your hard work—like how to choose healthy food when eating out
- Get back on track if you stray from your plan—because everyone slips now and then
Hypertension Nurse Managers
Some Local Health Units have Care Managers who can work with your healthcare provider to help you manage your high blood pressure. They will assist you with your medicines, checking your blood pressure, and lifestyle changes.
If you are interested in working with a Care Manager or Lifestyle Coach to manage your high blood pressure, call Be Well Arkansas or fill out the online form below to request services.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM)
If you have health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, you may be taking a lot of medicines. To make sure you are getting the best results from your medicines, Medication Therapy Management (MTM) is a program offered by many pharmacies to help make sure the prescription drugs you're taking are working for you. It also helps us identify any potential problems.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) pharmacists work closely with you and your doctors to help you get the best results from taking your medicines and make sure there are no problems. They will review the medicines you are taking and answer any questions you may have. An MTM pharmacist will make sure that:
- You are taking the right amount of medicine.
- Your medicines are not interacting with each other.
- You are taking only the medicines you need.
- Any vitamins, supplements and over-the-counter drugs you are taking are safe and effective.
- You are spending no more than you need for your medicines.
To find a MTM near you, click here or click on the map below.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes can help you control your blood pressure.
Diet. Eat a healthy diet that is:
- Low in salt (sodium), total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- High in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Be active. Try taking a brisk 10-minute walk 3 times a day 5 days a week.
Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention|