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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one of every three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Regardless of the commonality of high blood pressure, however, the condition can cause serious problems and even death if not treated. Knowing the following facts about high blood pressure could help you get it under control and potentially save your life.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure means that there is more pressure in your blood vessels than is normal. Blood pressure is measured in two parts, the pressure when the heart beats (systolic) and the pressure when the heart is at rest (diastolic). When blood pressure is higher than 120/80, it’s considered pre-hypertension; above 140/90 it’s considered high.

Preventing High Blood Pressure

One of the main risk factors for high blood pressure is being overweight. Keeping weight at healthy levels, especially using healthy weight loss means like diet and exercise, can prevent high blood pressure from developing. Avoiding sodium and limiting alcohol and smoking can also help to prevent high blood pressure.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

Many people that have high blood pressure don’t know they have it, as it often exhibits no symptoms. Fortunately, blood pressure is one of the common screen tests that are performed at every doctor’s visit. Doctor’s visits are generally covered with just a copay as long as you have health insurance, so it’s relatively inexpensive to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Additionally, you can test your own blood pressure at home with a kit or use one of the machines that are in many grocery and department stores. Knowing your blood pressure can help you to stay in control, especially if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Treating High Blood Pressure

The same lifestyle factors that can be used to prevent high blood pressure can be used to treat high blood pressure. Additionally, doctors may prescribe beta blockers to slow your heart rate so that the pressure on the blood vessels and organs decreases. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to track it so that you’re aware of your levels and overall control.

High Blood Pressure and Life Insurance

High blood pressure can increase your life insurance rates. Insurance companies typically look at your level of control to assess whether you are high or low risk, so maintaining control of your blood pressure can save you money as well as keeping you healthy. Even if your blood pressure has been difficult to manage in the past, showing consistency may help to lower your rates.

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