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  • Question 1/8

    You shouldn’t exercise if you have high blood pressure.

  • Answer 1/8

    You shouldn’t exercise if you have high blood pressure.

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    Regular moderate exercise not only helps bring down your blood pressure; it strengthens your heart, zaps stress, and helps you stay at a healthy weight. If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor what kind of exercise to do and how much.

    A brisk half-hour walk 5 days a week is a good routine, but starting with even 10 minutes a day helps. How brisk? If you can walk and sing at the same time, you need to work a little harder. If you can walk and talk, you're moving at a good pace.

  • Question 1/8

    You get high blood pressure from stress.

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    You get high blood pressure from stress.

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    Your blood pressure may go up for a while when you're under stress, but stress by itself doesn't cause long-term high blood pressure. Of course, if you're under a lot of stress all the time, this can still affect your health. 

    Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being obese, and not being physically active do raise your chance of high blood pressure. If it runs in your family, or if you're African-American, your risk is also higher. Blood pressure also tends to go up as we age.

  • Question 1/8

    You can feel it when your blood pressure starts to go up.

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    You can feel it when your blood pressure starts to go up.

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    You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. In fact, about 1 in 5 Americans with high blood pressure doesn't know it. Even if you feel fine, it can damage your heart and other organs. Get your blood pressure checked by your doctor once a year to make sure your numbers are good.

  • Question 1/8

    The bottom number is the only one that matters in high blood pressure.

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    The bottom number is the only one that matters in high blood pressure.

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    Both numbers in your blood pressure reading count. A reading below 120/80 is normal. 

    If your top number is 120 to 129 and your bottom number is 80 or less, you have prehypertension. It means you could end up with high blood pressure unless you take steps to prevent it. 

    If your top number is 130 or above and your bottom number is 80 or above, you have high blood pressure. The higher the number, the greater your health risks.

  • Question 1/8

    If you have high blood pressure, you have to take medication.

  • Answer 1/8

    If you have high blood pressure, you have to take medication.

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    Lifestyle changes are the first step for blood pressure that's a little high. You may not need medicine if you exercise, eat healthy, lose weight or quit smoking if you need to, limit alcohol, and cut salt.

    If that doesn't work, your doctor will likely prescribe medication. If medicine brings your blood pressure down to normal, don't stop taking it. And do keep the healthy lifestyle habits. You need both to lower your chances of having a stroke or other serious health problem.

  • Question 1/8

    High blood pressure causes kidney disease.

  • Answer 1/8

    High blood pressure causes kidney disease.

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    High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure. It can make your kidneys work harder and, eventually, stop working well. This can raise your blood pressure even more. If you are African-American, your chances of having kidney failure are much higher, even if your blood pressure is only a little high. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about your kidneys.

    If you have chronic kidney disease, keep your blood pressure below 130/80 with lifestyle changes and medicine.

  • Question 1/8

    Cutting back on table salt is the best way to cut sodium.

  • Answer 1/8

    Cutting back on table salt is the best way to cut sodium.

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    Processed food is probably where you get most of your salt. Foods don't have to taste salty to be high in sodium. Some bread and rolls, soups, frozen pizza, and cold cuts are all high.

    Read labels. You may be shocked at how much sodium is in your food. Make sure you know how much one serving is. If you eat two servings, you'll get twice as much sodium.

    If your blood pressure is even a little above normal, use the American Heart Association's guidelines for how much sodium you get each day. That is 2,300 mg should  be your absolute daily maximum, but limiting yourself to no more than 1,500 mg is ideal..

  • Question 1/8

    Meditating can lower your blood pressure.

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    Meditating can lower your blood pressure.

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    Studies show that doing Transcendental Meditation (TM) can lower your blood pressure a bit. TM involves focusing on a sound or phrase to get to a relaxed state of mind. But medication is still more effective. So if you have high blood pressure, meditate along with medicating -- not instead of it.

    There's no proof that yoga or other meditation or relaxation practices lower long-term blood pressure. But they do ease stress, which can spike your blood pressure.

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Sources | Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on October 17, 2017 Medically Reviewed on October 17, 2017

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on
October 17, 2017

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:
MoMo Productions / Digital Vision

SOURCES:
American Heart Association: "Stress and Blood Pressure," "Understand Your Risk for High Blood Pressure," "Why Blood Pressure Matters," "Shaking the Salt Habit," "Beyond Medications and Diet: Alternative Approaches to Lowering Blood Pressure," "Alternative therapies may help lower blood pressure," "Meditation and Heart Disease, Stroke," "Physical Activity and Blood Pressure."

CDC: "Hypertension Among Adults in the United States, 2009-2010," "Get the Facts: Sources of Sodium in Your Diet."

Cleveland Clinic: "Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)," "Hypertension Treatment Overview."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)."

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Is High Blood Pressure?" "How Is High Blood Pressure Treated?"

NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases: "High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease."

University of Rochester Medical Center: "Stopping Blood Pressure Drugs Risks a Stroke."

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