Did you know almost half of American adults have high blood pressure? You could have it and not even know it. That's why it's called the silent killer.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it flows through them. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.
Your blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. That's normal. But if it stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and cause health problems.
How is blood pressure measured?
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic (the first number): your blood pressure when your heart beats
- Diastolic (the second number): your blood pressure when your heart rests between beats
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”
What do the numbers mean?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- 120/80 mmHg or below is normal
- 140/90mmHg and above is high
It's normal for blood pressure to rise and fall over the day. But it may cause problems if it stays high for a long time. (For example, over two or more checkups.) The higher your blood pressure, the higher chance you have for other health problems.
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of:
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices, like not getting enough regular physical activity
- Health problems, like diabetes
- Being overweight
What problems does high blood pressure cause?
High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. It can seriously hurt important organs like your heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.
What can I do to have normal blood pressure?
The good news is that there's a lot you can do:
- Get up and move, about 30 minutes a day, five days a week
- Don't smoke
- Eat a healthy diet; limit the salt and alcohol
- Keep a healthy weight
- Don't let stress get the better of you
Some people also need to take medicine for their high blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, you can work together to help keep you healthy.
Will Medicare cover an Annual Wellness Visit?
Original Medicare covers the Annual Wellness Visit at 100% of the Medicare-approved amount when you get the service from a provider who accepts Medicare. You pay nothing (no deductible or coinsurance).
Medicare Advantage plans must cover Annual Wellness Visits without applying deductibles, copays, or coinsurance when you see a network provider and meet Medicare’s rules for the service.
Schedule your Annual Wellness Visit
Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure numbers.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.