Disclaimer: Not medical or professional advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.
Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal
This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, to make control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why you should come in today and have your blood pressure checked. It’s important! And it’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened here at Buckhead Urgent Care & Atlanta Primary Care or at drugstores, or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
Work with your healthcare team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.
Make Control Your Goal
If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:
- Ask our doctors what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card from Million Hearts®.
- Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
- Quit smoking — and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.
African American Men: Take Note
While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control. A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country. Many of these states have a large African American population.
Man to Man: Heart to Heart
Roosevelt, a long-time smoker, had a heart attack at age 45. He endured six surgeries, including heart bypass surgery to fix the damage to his heart caused by smoking. Now smoke-free, Roosevelt encourages others to quit smoking as a way to reduce their risk of heart disease.
“A heart attack feels like a hand inside squeezing your heart,” he said. “It’s like the worst Charley horse you can imagine—in your heart.”
“If you have loved ones who care about you, they will support you. Take it one day at a time,” Roosevelt said.