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Understanding High Blood Pressure: Risks and Control

Make control your goal

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against artery walls is too strong. It is common ailment, and it is common for many Veterans to hear about hypertension at their health care appointments. Over time, without treatment, high blood pressure can damage the arteries, heart, and kidneys and can lead to heart disease and stroke.

A person has high blood pressure (hypertension) when either or both of the following are present:

  • The top number (systolic) is 140 mm Hg or higher.

  • The bottom number (diastolic) is 90 mm Hg or higher.

High blood pressure can be treated effectively with lifestyle changes and medicines that can reduce the risk of complications.

Your high blood pressure risk factors

Risk factors are different for each person. Learn what blood pressure risk factors you have. Then, talk to your health care team about changes you can make to help control your risk. Keep in mind that some factors, like age and family history, can't be changed. But others can be managed. Learn more.

Controlling high blood pressure

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Knowing your blood pressure and remembering to check it regularly can help save your life. Choosing healthier, heart-conscious foods, maintaining a healthy weight, getting up and staying active, and managing your stress are great ways to help keep your blood pressure at the level it should be. Learn more about what you can do to help control your blood pressure.

High blood pressure: how to make control your goal

It's up to you to successfully manage your blood pressure. But it doesn't have to be difficult. There are several ways to achieve a goal of control:

  • Engaging your health care team in order to understand your blood pressure reading

  • Taking your medications faithfully

  • Monitoring your blood pressure are just a few ways you can achieve a goal of control.

Learn more about other small, manageable steps to take to make sure your blood pressure is where it needs to be.

Remember that registered users of My HealtheVet can track their blood pressure as part of their Personal Health Record. When you are logged in, the Track Health "Vitals and Readings" section lets you enter your own systolic and diastolic numbers. You can also print out your data as part of your Blue Button report using "Vitals and Readings, Self Reported."

Read More

What Is High Blood Pressure? (Veterans Health Library)

Hypertension: The Silent Killer 

Updated January 14, 2020