May is National Blood Pressure Education Month, but you should keep tabs on your blood pressure year-round. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, tells us how to stay on top of our blood pressure.
Why is our blood pressure important?
Nurse Rose: Knowing your blood pressure and keeping it at healthy level are critical to your health because people with untreated high blood pressure are at a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure causes about 1,000 deaths per day in the U.S.
How common is high blood pressure?
Nurse Rose: About 70 million Americans have high blood pressure – that’s 1 of every 3 adults. What’s worse, only half of people with high blood pressure have it under control.
What is considered a good blood pressure level?
Nurse Rose: When you have your blood pressure measured, you’ll see a top number and a bottom number. While your blood pressure can vary based on your age, health condition and medications – the ideal blood pressure is around 120/80, and anything over 130/80 is considered high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. You can have your blood pressure measured by your doctor or at many local pharmacies.
How can I keep my blood pressure in check?
Nurse Rose: Follow these simple tips:
- Get an annual physical
- Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine
- Do not smoke
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes about five days per week
You should also eat a heart healthy diet by:
- Eating vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oils
- Limiting foods that are high in saturated fats
- Limiting sugary beverages and sweets
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.