Why is controlling your blood pressure so important for your heart?
The higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of heart disease.2
Here’s how high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease:
- High blood pressure damages the walls of the blood vessels. Once the walls are damaged, they are more likely to become clogged up with fatty deposits, called plaques, which narrow and “harden” the blood vessels.
- High blood pressure also puts more strain on the heart, since it is harder to pump when blood pressure is high.
How common is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure affects about 1 in 5 Canadians.3 Since it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, you may have high blood pressure and not even know it. In fact, an estimated 17% of Canadians have undiagnosed high blood pressure.2
How can you find out your blood pressure?
You can get it tested at your pharmacy, measure it with a blood pressure cuff at home, or have it checked in your Doctor’s office.
What do your blood pressure numbers mean?
Blood pressure is the force on the artery walls as your blood circulates in the body.
The higher the numbers and the longer they are high, the more damage is caused to your blood vessels. This can damage the heart, potentially resulting in stroke, heart attack, heart or kidney failure.
What should your blood pressure be?
|Blood Pressure Level (mmHg)|
|Category||Systolic/ Diastolic Target|
|Most people||Less than 140/90|
|People with diabetes||Less than 130/80|
2. Public Health Agency of Canada. Hypertension facts and figures. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/cvd-mcv/hypertension_figures-eng.php, accessed 11 October 2011.
3. Heart & Stroke Foundation. High blood pressure. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3484023/, accessed 11 October 2011.