Nearly 20 percent of adult Americans are living with hypertension-commonly known as high blood pressure-and don’t know it, according to the latest estimates from the American Heart Association. Only about half of the 78 million Americans diagnosed with hypertension are controlling it. And yet, uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for devastating health problems-including stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. Hypertension is dangerous “because it’s so often ignored,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D. medical director of the Joan H. Tisch for Woman’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.
To protect your health, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked by a professional-at least once a year. A blood pressure check measures the forse of blood pushing against the artery walls as the heart pumps blood. This pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but when it stays high over time, it’s called high blood pressure-a chronic medical condition that damages arteries and requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood to the organs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent and control it.
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