Across the world, caring organizations are dedicating specific days of the year to the importance of Blood Pressure Awareness. Throughout Europe, a campaign is in force to raise public awareness about blood pressure. Since 1984, May has been proclaimed as National Blood Pressure Awareness Month in the United States. The official motto of the blood pressure awareness initiative is "know your numbers".
More than 1 out of every 10 Americans has high blood pressure. Many of those who have high blood pressure do not know it. This is a uniquely silent disease. There are no symptoms until it is too late; the catastrophe of a heart attack or stroke is all too often the first indication of a problem.
Because high blood pressure is silent and can be treated effectively, early detection (home management) is important. Hypertension is unique in this regard. However, don't be panicked by any one reading. Because your blood pressure varies up and down, you will need to have several readings of the first reading is elevated. At least one-third of the people whose first reading is high will be found to have normal readings on subsequent checks.
The blood pressure reading has two numbers. The higher one is the systolic pressure and the lower is diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is considered to be high if the higher number exceeds 140 or the lower number exceeds 90. Traditionally, "normal" is said to be 120 over 80, but this has been overemphasized. Generally, the lower the blood pressure, the better. Low readings are usually found in youngsters and in older people who are in excellent physical condition.
The most important thing to realize is that you must manage this problem yourself. It will be up to you to control your weight, your exercise, your salt intake, and to take your medicines. It should be up to you to take your own blood pressure. Your doctor should be your trusted advisor but cannot assume your responsibility. No matter how much the doctor would like to take care of this for you, he or she cannot. If you are going to manage this problem, you need the blood pressure readings so that you can report changes or difficulties to the doctor. You are in control, and good doctors will emphasize this point.