pe abh what about african americans and high blood pressure ucm 300463

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1 + Lifestyle Risk Reduction ANSWERS High Blood Pressure heart by What About African Americans and High Blood Pressure? African Americans in the U.S. have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure (HBP) than other racial and ethnic groups. It is also often more severe in blacks, and some medications are less effective in treating HBP in blacks. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. That’s why it’s called the “silent killer.” The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have your healthcare provider check it regularl y. For proper diagnosis of HBP, your healthcare provider What is blood pressure? will use an average based on two or more readings Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the obtained on two or more occasions. walls of the arteries. Blood pressure results from two forces. One is created by the heart as it pumps blood Checking your blood pressure is quick and painless. into the arteries and through the circulatory system. You can have it done in a doctor’s office, hospital, The other is the force on the arteries as the heart clinic, nurse’s office, pharmacy, company clinic rests between beats. Blood pressure is measured in or health fair. You can also purchase a home blood millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). pressure monitor so you can check it at home. Your doctor will tell you how often you should have it What should my blood pressure be? checked. . The Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg How can high blood pressure affect me? top number (systolic) is the pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure Left uncontrolled or undetected, HBP can damage when the heart rests between beats. blood vessels in various parts of your body. And the longer it’s left untreated, the more likely organs such If you’re an adult with a systolic blood pressure of 120 as your heart, brain, kidneys or eyes will be damaged. to 129 mm Hg, and your diastolic pressure is less than This can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, 80 mm Hg, you have elevated blood pressure. High kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, and loss of blood pressure is a pressure of 130 systolic or higher, vision. or 80 diastolic or higher, that stays high over time. What can I do about my blood pressure? How often should I have my blood pressure Making healthy lifestyle changes is the first step. checked? Your doctor may take several readings over time • Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. before making a judgment about your blood pressure. • Reach and maintain a healthy weight. (continued)

2 + Lifestyle Risk Reduction ANSWERS What About African Americans High Blood Pressure heart by and High Blood Pressure? • Eat a health y diet that is low in saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. • Aim to consume less than 1,500 mg/day of sodium (salt). Even reducing you daily intake by 1000 mg can help. • Eat foods rich in potassium. Aim for 3,500 – 5,000 mg of dietary potassium per day. • Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. ysically active. Aim for at least 90 to • Be more ph 150 minutes of aerobic and/or dynamic resistance exercise per week and/or three sessions of isometric resistance exercises per week. What about medications? Depending on your risk and blood pressure levels, you may be prescribed one or more medications in addition to lifestyle changes. In African Americans, thiazide-type diuretics (water Your healthcare provider will determine your level of pills) and/or calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are risk and work with you to choose the best treatment more effective in lowering blood pressure when given options. alone or as initial medicines in a multidrug regimen. Do you have HOW CAN I LEARN MORE? My Que stions: questions for the Call 1-800-AHA-USA1 doctor or nurse? (1-800-242-8721), or visit heart.org Take a few minutes to to learn more about heart disease and write your questions for stroke. the next time you see your healthcare provider. Sign up to get , a free Heart Insight magazine for heart patients and their For example: heartinsight.org . families, at How is high blood Connect with others sharing similar pre ssure t re ated? journeys with heart disease and stroke What t ype of die t by joining our Support Network at would be most helpful? heart.org/supportnetwork . We have many other fact sheets to help you make healthier choices to reduce your risk, manage disease or care for a loved one. Visit heart.org/answersbyheart to learn more. ©2017, American Heart Association

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