Thursday, May 17, 2012

National High Blood Pressure Education Month

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month.  About 1 in 3 Mainers is diagnosed with high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension.  High blood pressure usually has no symptoms but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and blindness.  Since there are usually no symptoms, many people have high blood pressure and do not know it.

You are more likely to have high blood pressure if you…
·         Are over 55 years old
·         Have a family history of high blood pressure
·         Are overweight
·         Eat foods high in salt/sodium
·         Do not exercise regularly
·         Smoke
·         Drink alcohol regularly

You can prevent and control high blood pressure
·         Get your blood pressure checked at least every year and encourage friends and family to do the same
·         If you have medicine for high blood pressure, use it as directed
·         Talk with your doctor to learn more about your blood pressure and staying healthy
·         If you have any of the risks mentioned above, make changes to reduce the risks you can
o        Stop smoking: Get free help to quit at the Maine Tobacco Helpline 1-800-207-1230
o        Maintain a healthy weight: Eat healthy, limit portion sizes, eat more fruits and vegetables, and be physically active
o        Be physically active: Try to get at least 30 minutes of activity every day.
Find a walking route near you at http://www.healthymainewalks.org/

Remember anyone can develop high blood pressure and there usually are no symptoms.  Get your blood pressure checked regularly and do what you can to live a healthy life.

For more information visit the Maine CDC Cardiovascular Health Program Website http://www.mainehearthealth.org/ or contact David Pied, Public Health Educator at david.pied@maine.gov

Help us prevent one million heart attacks and strokes nationally over five years, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/

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