High blood pressure is a dangerous risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States. Yet only about half of people with high blood pressure have it under control.
At the Matters of the Heart Lecture on February 12, Christiana Care Health System experts shared the health impacts of high blood pressure and how to control it. The lecturers were Stephen Q. Meng, M.D., of Christiana Care Cardiology Consultants; Arun V. Malhotra, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Hemodialysis Unit at Wilmington Hospital; and Jonathan M. Raser-Schramm, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Stroke Program and the Stroke Treatment and Recovery Unit.
Dr. Meng highlights five takeaways from the lecture.
- The definition of hypertension, or high blood pressure, has changed in just the last two years. If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80, you have hypertension.
- High blood pressure affects more people than you may think. Nearly half — 46 percent — of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure.
- African-Americans have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure than other races and ethnicities and are at greater risk for health problems related to high blood pressure, like stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.
- While genetics are considered a risk factor for high blood pressure, other risk factors like smoking, alcohol consumption and high sodium intake can be controlled.
- Eating a healthy diet and exercising won’t only help you lose weight, they can lower your blood pressure. For every two pounds of weight lost, you can reduce your blood pressure by one point.
For more on high blood pressure, watch our Matters of the Heart videos.