January is the perfect time to reset and restart after a year of busy family outings and gift-giving. A tool can help you understand your blood pressure numbers and know the right steps to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
In an effort to help 3 million people in the U.S. know their blood pressure numbers, this interactive chart at www.heart.org/BPtools can help you identify your blood pressure risk and know the next steps for keeping your numbers at a healthy level. You can learn your blood pressure with a home monitor, at a clinic visit or at a pharmacy where blood pressure measurement kiosks are located, and many pharmacy staff are trained to take a manual measurement.
According to the latest guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology, blood pressure is too high when the top number in a reading is 130 or above or the bottom number is 80 or higher. Using this definition of high blood pressure, more than 100 million people in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no symptoms, which could put you at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and other life-threatening conditions without even knowing about it. It only takes 10 minutes or less to check it and use the interactive blood pressure tool to learn your risks and get support if needed.
Community groups, clinics and workplaces can hold blood pressure checks for large groups through programs like the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control initiative. Participants in this free, science-based program have seen blood pressure drop, and one-third improved their level of blood pressure control.
Such programs can be particularly important for those known to face higher risks. Remember, making small changes over time can make a positive impact on your numbers.