High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
What is High Blood Pressure?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the
National Institutes of Health, high blood pressure, also called hypertension,
is defined as:
- 140 mm Hg or greater systolic pressure or 90 mm Hg or greater diastolic pressure
These numbers should be used as a guide only. Please speak with your physician
about your numbers. For a referral to a RWJBarnabas Health cardiologist
or primary care physician, call 888-724-7123.
A single elevated blood pressure measurement is not necessarily an indication
of a problem. Your doctor will want to see multiple blood pressure measurements
over several days or weeks before making a diagnosis of hypertension (high
blood pressure) and initiating treatment. A person who normally runs a
lower-than-usual blood pressure may be considered hypertensive with lower
blood pressure measurements than 140/90.
Nearly one-third of all Americans have high blood pressure, but it is particularly
- People who have diabetes, gout, or kidney disease
- African Americans (particularly those who live in the southeastern United States)
- People with a family history of high blood pressure
- Obese people
- Heavy drinkers of alcohol
- Women who are taking oral contraceptives
High Blood Pressure Treatments
Blood pressure medications may be used to help control elevated blood pressure.
Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication(s) for your situation.
There are several types of medications which act in different ways to
lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can be controlled by:
- Taking prescribed medications exactly as ordered by your health care provider
- Choosing foods that are low in salt (sodium), calories and fat
- Choosing foods high in fiber
- Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if overweight
- Limiting serving sizes
- Increasing physical activity
- Reducing or omitting alcoholic beverages
Weight loss, regular physical exercise, and balanced diet have shown to
be effective in lowering high blood pressure. According to the Physical
Activity Guidelines for Americans, strong evidence shows that 150 minutes
or 2 hours and 30 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical
activity can help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Because high blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, it is important
to get your blood pressure checked each time you visit your physician.
For a referral to a RWJBarnabas Health cardiologist or primary care physician,