SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) February is American Heart Month, and studies show that 1 in 3 Utah residents has high blood pressure. It’s as important as ever to make sure you have yours under control. Anni McKinnon, a health educator with the Salt Lake County Health Department, joined Devon Lucie, to talk about how to correctly check your blood pressure and why it’s so important.
McKinnon says doctors have now added a new category, “elevated,” to the list of blood pressure. The purpose for this is to alert individuals earlier to their risk for high blood pressure.
Having high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other heart events.
If you are told you have ‘Elevated’ or ‘Stage One’ high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to make healthier lifestyle choices. These include:
- Increase physical activity
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Manage your weight
As a patient, if you notice that your blood pressure is over 120 systolic(top number), or 80 diastolic(bottom number), ask your doctor if you need more measurements of your blood pressure to possibly diagnose hypertension. You can also encourage your doctor’s office to ensure they are taking the most accurate measurement. Here’s how to get an accurate measurement of blood pressure:
- Sit quietly and relax for five minutes.
- Sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor and back supported.
- Make sure they are using the proper size cuff on a bare arm.
- Keep arm at heart level with elbow slightly bent, relaxed with palm facing up on a flat surface. 5. If the reading is high, ask them how you can have it rechecked or monitor it at home.
For more information on heart health and blood pressure, visit www.SLCO.org/Health.