Blood Pressure

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Your goal for blood pressure is less than 135 and less than 85. If you have diabetes or kidney problems, your goal is less than 130 and less than 80.

WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?

Blood pressure is measured by two numbers. The first, or top number, is known as systolic blood pressure. It is the pressure when the heart squeezes to pump blood to the rest of the body. The second, or bottom number, is know as diastolic blood pressure. It occurs when the heart relaxes.

CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE NUMBERS AT HOME

Your doctor or nurse may ask you to begin taking your blood pressure at home. Doing this will help determine a more accurate blood pressure. Blood pressure numbers are usually lower at home than in the clinic. Make sure to record your readings according to your healthcare professionals instructions.

  • Take your blood pressure twice a day for seven days
  • Take 2-3 readings in the morning and the evening. Each reading should be 2 minutes apart
  • Use a log to record your readings or print the numbers stored in your monitor
  • Always take your log to show your doctor or nurse

View Product Ratings and Validations of Home BP Monitors

HOW TO LOWER YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

Exercise

  • Exercise at a comfortable pace for 30-60 minutes a day. Remember, you can break this up into three 10-minute or two 15-minute exercise sessions per day!
  • Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and go for a morning walk.
  • Go for a 15-minute walk on your lunch break.
  • Walk or ride bikes with family and friends after dinner.
  • Join a gym or a group program.

Why is exercise important?  Exercise can help prevent heart attack and stroke by:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Increasing good HDL cholesterol
  • Controlling blood sugar
  • Helping you to lose weight
  • Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Improving muscle strength, balance, and fitness

EAT LESS SALT

  • Use less salt when you cook.

  • Don't add salt to your food.

  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eating less salt is important because it can lower your blood pressure.

Your salt goal:
Try to eat less than 1500mg per day

Salty Foods to Avoid:

  • Fast food
  • Meats such as ham, bacon, sausage
  • Canned fish
  • Salad dressing with salt
  • Sauces including soy, tomato, and BBQ
  • Prepackaged and frozen foods such as packaged mixes for sauces, pot pies
  • Canned soups
  • Processed cheese and cheese spreads
  • Salted snacks

REACH A HEALTHY WEIGHT

  • Drink water, non-fat milk, or iced tea instead of whole milk, soda or alcohol.
  • Put fresh vegetables on your sandwich.
  • Use fat-free salad dressing.
  • Use mustard instead of mayo on sandwiches.
  • Order thin crust instead of thick crust pizza.
  • Eat fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls for your food.
  • Count your calories, then eat 100 less calories per day.
  • Walk 30-60 minutes most days of the week.
  • Fill up on salads and vegetables.
  • Drink a large glass of water before your meal.
  • Keep a food diary to track what you eat.

Reaching a healthy weight is important because it helps:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower your risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Increase good HDL cholesterol
  • Lower bad LDL cholesterol
  • Lessen pain by lowering the stress put on ankles, knees, hips, and back while exercising
  • Increase your energy level

What is a healthy weight for me?
Healthcare professionals use a scale called a BMI, or body mass index, to determine if you are at a healthy weight. BMI is based on your height and weight. For good health, your BMI should be less than 25.

LEARN ABOUT YOUR MEDICINES

  • Take your pills at the same time each day. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to set up a schedule, use a pillbox, or set a timer or alarm on your watch to remind you to take them.
  • Take at least 1-2 days of extra medicine with you with you travel. Bring your medicine list with you.
  • If you don't feel well after taking a medicine, call your doctor or nurse. Don't just stop taking the medicine.
  • Keep taking your medicines even if your blood pressure is at your goal.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about a generic blood pressure medicine to lower cost.

Blood pressure medicines work in different ways. Most medicines relax the arteries, remove extra fluid, or all allow your heart to beat easier.

MAKE A PLAN

Now is the time to make a plan. Small changes can make a big difference, so start today. Pick some things you will change. This checklist can help you get started:

  • I will make changes to lower my blood pressure. This also will protect my brain, heart & kidneys.
  • I will buy a blood pressure monitor and check my numbers at home.
  • I will eat less salt and more fruits and vegetables.
  • I will ask my doctor or nurse what exercises are safe for me.
  • I will walk at least 30 minutes each day.
  • I will carry a list of my medicines with me at all times.
  • I will talk to my doctor or nurse before I stop taking any medicines.

Download & Print information about blood pressure

This brochure will help you to understand if you have normal, are at risk for, or have high blood pressure and what you can do to achieve normal blood pressure. It is important to prevent and treat high blood pressure because it can damage your brain, heart and blood vessels, and kidneys. It also raises your risk for stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure.

Disclaimer: This and other PCNA educational materials are for information purposes only and are not intended to replace medical advice or diagnose or treat health problems. Health-related decisions should be made in partnership with a healthcare provider. It is the reader's responsibility to seek out the most current, accurate information.