Almost half of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
Many don’t know they have it.
Blood pressure is the amount of force it takes for your heart to push blood through your body. When your blood pressure is high,your heart works harder than it should. High blood pressure is also called hypertension.
You don’t have to be a tense or nervous person to have high blood pressure. Even relaxed, calm people can have it. You can have hypertension and not have any symptoms. If it isn’t controlled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss and death. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to know if yours is too high.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year.
You can have your blood pressure checked at the primary care provider’s (PCP) office. You can also do it at home if you have a blood pressure cuff, or at a blood pressure check machine at your local pharmacy. If you check it at home or at a pharmacy, remember to write down your numbers to share with your PCP. You could also take a photo of the digital readout or enter it into a blood pressure tracking app.
Talk with your PCP about how often you should check your blood pressure, and what a healthy range is for you.
High blood pressure is serious.
But with some lifestyle changes it can be managed. Which of these heart-healthy changes would you make first?
❑ Choose foods and drinks that are low in sodium and high in potassium.
❑ Take medicines as my PCP prescribes.
❑ Manage my stress with exercise, meditation, music or journaling.
❑ If I drink alcohol, I will talk to my PCP about a safe amount for me.
❑ If I’m overweight, I will lose weight at a rate that my PCP recommends.
❑ If I smoke, I will take steps to quit. If I need help, support or information, I will call the Quit Now Virginia Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Shake the salt!
In the U.S., 75% of the sodium, or salt, we consume comes from processed foods. That means lunchmeats, snack foods, condiments, canned goods, soups and more. Try to limit or avoid foods that have the words “soda” or “sodium” in the ingredient list or the symbol “Na” on the label.
Foods rich in potassium play a big role in helping manage high blood pressure.
It’s recommended that average adults get 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. Check with your PCP to see what amount is best for you.
Sources: American Heart Association, heart.org; United States Department of Agriculture; choosemyplate.gov
What potassium-rich foods could you add into your heart-healthy diet?
- FRUITS: Apricots, Avocados, Bananas, Oranges, Raisins, Dates
- VEGETABLES: Greens, Mushrooms, Peas, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes
- DAIRY: Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk, Fat-Free Yogurt
- PROTEIN: Halibut, Tuna
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During Medicaid Open Enrollment consider switching to the Anthem Healthkeepers Plus Plan.
- For CCC Plus Members open enrollment is 10/1/2020-12/18/2020.
- For Medicaid Expansion open enrollment is 11/1/2020-12/31/2020.
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