May 01, 2021

Blood pressure

What to know to keep your numbers low

Blood pressure is known as a silent killer because you can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. Find out if your numbers are high, and ways to keep them under control with minimal medication use.

Blood pressure

You probably know that high blood pressure isn't healthy. But since it doesn't usually impact how you feel, it's easy to put off taking it seriously.

Make no mistake, high blood pressure is a serious issue. Left untreated, it can damage your blood vessels, as well as many organs over time. This can lead to problems such as heart attack, stroke, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, aneurysm, kidney disease or kidney failure, vision loss, and cognitive difficulties. The higher the blood pressure and the longer it goes untreated, the greater the risk that it will cause damage.

The good news: You can easily get tested for high blood pressure, and there are effective treatments and lifestyle steps you can take to keep things under control.

The force within you

With each beat of your heart, nutrient and oxygen-rich blood surges from your heart's main pumping chamber (left ventricle) into an intricate network of blood vessels. These blood vessels deliver nutrients and fresh oxygen to your body's tissues and organs. They route oxygen-depleted blood back to your heart, through your lungs to pick up a new supply of oxygen, then back to your heart for another journey through your cardiovascular system.

Your blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on your artery walls to keep all 11 pints of your blood flowing through your body.

A key force behind your blood pressure is the pumping of your heart. Your arteries are lined with smooth muscle that allows them to expand and contract as...