Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt, and vast majority of sodium we consume is in processed restaurant foods. Your body needs a small amount of sodium to work properly, but too much sodium is bad for your health. Excess sodium can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease and stroke.

What is high blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. But if it stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and lead to health problems.

High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. The only way to know if you have it is to measure your blood pressure. Then you can take steps to control it if it is too high. Your health care team may also refer to high blood pressure as hypertension.

You can make other lifestyle changes to help improve blood pressure and your doctor might prescribe you medications to help control blood pressure. Lifestyle changes include:

  • Diet: low in salt, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol (see last weeks and next week’s blog posts for more information)
    • High in fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Be active
  • Do not smoke

What blood pressure levels are healthy?

To determine whether your blood pressure is normal, your doctor examines your systolic and diastolic pressures, which the gauge measures in millimeters of mercury (abbreviated as mmHg).

  • Blood Pressure Levels –Systolic: less than 120 mmHg, Diastolic: less than 80 mmHg
  • At risk (prehypertension) – Systolic: 120–139 mmHg, Diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
  • High systolic – Systolic: 140 mmHg or higher, Diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

Taking control of your heart is all in the ABC’s:

A– Take aspirin as directed by your healthcare provider
B – Control your blood pressure
C – Manage your cholesterol
S – Don’t smoke

Thanks CDC for this helpful information.