Monday, February 20, 2012


Avoid the consequences of high blood pressure

Years ago, a blood pressure of 140/90 was considered normal, but extensive research has provided evidence that this is too high.

The latest guidelines from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health say:

• Normal is 120/80 or less.

• Pre-hypertension is 120-139 systolic (as the heart beats) over 80-89 diastolic (as the heart relaxes between beats).

• Stage 1 hypertension is 140-159 systolic, over 90-100.

• Stage 2 hypertension is 160/100 or higher.

The first step is knowing what your blood pressure is. Backus Hospital conducts free, monthly blood pressure screenings on the third Wednesday of every month from 1-2 p.m. in main lobby conference room 3.

If you have high blood pressure, speak with your healthcare provider about options, which can range from lifestyle changes to pharmaceutical options.

To prevent high blood pressure, cut down on your salt intake, maintain a healthy weight and exercise daily.

These suggestions are small prices to pay, considering that consistently high blood pressure causes stress and ultimately injures the brain, arteries, eyes, kidneys and heart.

Alice Facente is a registered nurse and clinical educator at the The William W. Backus Hospital Education Department. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your personal physician. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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