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February is Heart Month, the perfect time to learn about your risk for heart disease and the steps you need to take now to help your heart.
Millions of Americans of all ages have high blood pressure. About half of people with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
So what is blood pressure? It's is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
- The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
- The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. Measuring your blood pressure is the only way to know whether you have high blood pressure.
4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health
- Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week).
- Don't smoke.
- Eat a healthy diet, including low amounts of sodium (salt) and alcohol.
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Manage stress.