February is American Heart Month! Now is an excellent time to take charge of your heart health. Regular visits to your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol are simple ways to know your heart disease risk factors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death.
Here are some facts about high blood pressure:
- High Blood Pressure and the Dementia Link
Evidence shows that those with high blood pressure during midlife (ages 44 to 66) are at a higher risk of dementia later in life. So, don’t wait to take care of your blood pressure!
- Not Just For Older Adults
You may be surprised to know that nearly 1 in 4 adults ages 20 to 44 have high blood pressure. In fact, the risk of stroke is rising among younger people. Obesity and type 2 diabetes can also increase the risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Few Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer.” Most people have no symptoms that they have high blood pressure. Without signs, people don’t often think about the importance of regular blood pressure screenings.
- Many People Don’t Know They Have High Blood Pressure
In the U.S., 1 in 3 adults with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it and are not getting treatment. That’s why it’s important to get check-ups with your healthcare provider. Ask your provider to share what your numbers are and if they are too high. Follow a recommended treatment plan and advice if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- African Americans and Women Face Unique Risks
African American men and women have higher blood pressure rates than any other racial or ethnic group. These individuals are also more likely to be hospitalized for high blood pressure. Women with high blood pressure are more likely to experience complications during pregnancy. Some risks include harming the mother’s kidney and other organs and can lead to premature birth and low birth weight.
Whatever your age, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
Many health plans provide medically-tailored meals to their members who have chronic conditions such as cardiac conditions and diabetes. Check with your case manager to see if you are eligible.