doctor taking blood pressure

How Much Do You Know About High Blood Pressure?

Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know they have it, according to the American Heart Association. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

Get to know high blood pressure better with these myths and facts:

Myth 1: You can’t avoid high blood pressure.
Fact: Actually, there is plenty you can do. Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Also, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking, keep alcohol consumption low and control stress levels.

Myth 2: You can stop taking medication when you feel better.
Fact: Never stop taking blood pressure medicine unless your doctor says you can. High blood pressure can cause strokes and heart problems. Medicine can help you limit that risk. The best way to know if your blood pressure is high is to get it checked. It’s quick and pain-free.

Myth 3: You can tell when you have high blood pressure.
Fact: You can’t feel high blood pressure. That's why it's often called "the silent killer." That's also why you get a blood pressure reading at every doctor’s visit.

Myth 4: You can limit sodium by not adding salt to food.
Fact: Yes, you should put down the salt shaker. But you also need to read food labels. A lot of sodium is in most prepacked foods, condiments, canned and fast foods.

Myth 5: If you're calm or not really stressed, you won't have high blood pressure.
Fact: While controlling your stress level is beneficial to your overall health, it doesn't mean you can't have high blood pressure. Anyone can develop high blood pressure. If you are stressed, it's important that you don't manage stress with unhealthy habits like smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and drinking too much alcohol, which are all linked to heart disease.

Contact a cardiologist to help you manage your blood pressure.