THERE’S helpful news for those with high blood pressure. By taking a few simple, practical steps, they can have a better chance of keeping their blood pressure under control. This can be significant. Data have shown that many Americans with high blood pressure do not have their blood pressure controlled to a healthy level.
An estimated 78 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that from 2007-2010, more than 80 percent of people with high blood pressure were aware they had it, but only about half had their blood pressure under control.
Collaboration is key
According to the American Heart Association, people being treated but still not reaching their target blood pressure—typically, a level less than 140/90 millimeters of mercury—should be a health care priority.
A key to better control, they say, is a good doctor-patient partnership. If you’re one of the millions of Americans battling high blood pressure, here are some solutions to help you collaborate with your health care provider and get your blood pressure under control:
• Ask about your blood pressure at each annual checkup. If it’s high, check your blood pressure regularly between appointments—at home, a pharmacy or another facility. Follow up with your doctor according to his or her recommendations.
• Become a tracker. Keep a log of your medication, your blood pressure levels, and even questions for your doctor as they come to mind. Online tools, such as www.Heart360.org, can help.
• Be flexible. It may take a while to get to your blood pressure goal, and it may take more than one medicine in addition to lifestyle changes to get you there. Keep in close touch with your health care provider along the way to create the best plan for yourself.
• Know yourself. What keeps you from keeping up with your medicines? Eating healthy? Losing weight? Be aware of your barriers to better health and talk with your doctor about them. Your provider or clinic may have suggestions or know programs that can help.
Once your treatment program becomes routine, maintaining a lower blood pressure is easier. Remind yourself that by managing your blood pressure, you are lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Learn more online at www.heart.org. Walgreens is a proud supporter of the American Heart Association and offers free blood pressure testing in all of their pharmacies. North American Precis Syndicate