High Blood Pressure

Managing High Blood Pressure

Knowing how to interpret and manage your blood pressure readings is key.  Rocky Mountain Family Physicians are committed to educating our Fort Collins patients on what they need to know about high blood pressure and hypertension.

What Your Numbers Mean

Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers:HighBloodPressure

  • The top number: SYSTOLIC – The pressure in your arteries when your heart beats or pumps blood into your arteries.
  • The bottom number: DIASTOLIC – The pressure in your arteries in between heartbeats.
Systolic Pressure (top number)Diastolic Pressure (bottom number)
:
Normal
Systolic Pressure (top number):
Less than 120 mm Hg
Diastolic Pressure (bottom number):
Less than 80 mm Hg
:
Pre-Hypertension
Systolic Pressure (top number):
120-139 mm Hg
Diastolic Pressure (bottom number):
80-89 mm Hg
:
Stage 1 - Hypertension
Systolic Pressure (top number):
140-159 mm Hg
Diastolic Pressure (bottom number):
90-99 mm Hg
:
Stage 2 - Hypertension
Systolic Pressure (top number):
160 mm Hg or higher
Diastolic Pressure (bottom number):
100 mm Hg or higher

Five Things You Can Do to Help Lower Blood Pressure

  1. Adjust your diet
    Eat a heart-healthy diet – Eat foods that are low in calories, fat and cholesterol.Cut back on sodium – Don’t add salt to your food, eat fewer prepackaged or frozen meals and look for products that have reduced sodium.Read food labels so you know what you’re eating.Limit alcohol to one (women) or two (men) drinks per day.  One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.Make changes gradually.  You’re more likely to succeed if you make small changes over time.
  2. Exercise
    Be active for 30 to 60 minutes most days.Start slowly and add minutes to your workout each day.  Don’t be discouraged if you miss a day.Choose activities that you enjoy.Fit exercise into everyday activities – take the stairs instead of the elevator.Motivate yourself – set small goals and record your progress.
  3. If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight-loss plan.  Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce blood pressure.
  4. Quit smoking.  Develop a plan with your doctor and consider joining a support group.
  5. Find ways to manage stress.