High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. But you can take steps to control your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
About 1 of 3 U.S. adults—or about 70 million people—have high blood pressure.1 Only about half (52%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control. This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, 2 of the leading causes of death for Americans. Get more quick facts about high blood pressure, or learn more about high blood pressure in the United States.
High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. That’s why it is important to check your blood pressure regularly.
You can make changes to your lifestyle that will help you control your blood pressure. Your doctor might prescribe medications that can help you. By controlling your blood pressure, you will lower your risk for the harmful effects of high blood pressure.
Work with your health care team
Team-based care that includes you, your doctor, and other health care providers can help reduce and control blood pressure.1
If you already have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are just as important as medications. Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications. Do not stop taking your medications before talking to your doctor or pharmacist.
All drugs may have side effects, so talk to your doctor regularly. As your blood pressure improves, your doctor will check it often.
Make lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes can help you control your blood pressure.
Diet. Eat a healthy diet that is:
Low in salt (sodium), total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
High in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Be active. Try taking a brisk 10-minute walk 3 times a day 5 days a week.
Do not smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible. Visit Smokefree.gov for tips on quitting.