About 65 million American adults have high blood pressure. Two of every three people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. Recently, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Society of Hypertension presented new blood pressure targets for adults who have heart disease. There are specific goals for adults with diabetes.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
You have high blood pressure if your readings are higher than 140/90, or if you take high blood pressure medication. High blood pressure raises your chances of having a stroke or other problems with your heart. The top number, called systolic, is the pressure on your veins when your heart beats. The bottom number, called diastolic, is the pressure on your veins when your heart is at rest.
What do the new targets mean for me?
The new guidelines, which will be published in June 2015, state that blood pressure should be less than 140/90 for most people. But for people who have diabetes, the new goal is less than 130/80. This is the same as the American Diabetes Association’s recommendations from 2012. Of course, everyone is different, and your healthcare provider will be able to tell you what your personal blood pressure goals should be.
In the meantime, try these tips to help lower your blood pressure:
- Stay active.
- If your healthcare provider has asked you to take medicines, do not skip a day.
- Eat less salt, and fewer foods that contain high amounts of “sodium.” The label will tell you how much is in the food.
- Eat fewer processed foods like canned soups, chips, and frozen meals.