Driving in rush-hour traffic, waiting in line at the store, and 4 o’clock meetings on Fridays are just a few things that can trigger stress and cause high blood pressure. But unless you notice your pulse racing, you probably don’t think about high blood pressure—and that can be dangerous.
When high blood pressure stays high, it raises your risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and other serious health problems. Don’t be fooled by the following myths about high blood pressure.
Myth: Since high blood pressure runs in my family, I’m going to get it too.
Fact: If your parents or a close relative have high blood pressure, you are at higher risk of getting it too. But that’s hardly a given. Healthy habits help many people with a family history of high blood pressure avoid it themselves. Here are key habits to start working on:
- If you smoke, stop lighting up.
- Trim down if you’re overweight.
- Get regular exercise, and do your best to manage stress.
- Eat a heart-health, low-salt diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Myth: If I had high blood pressure, I’d know it.
Fact: More than 78 million adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure, and many don’t realize it. In fact, it’s sometimes called the silent killer because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. You can have high blood pressure and feel fine, even though it may be damaging to your arteries, heart, and other organs. That’s why you need to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
Myth: Though I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s down now and I can stop my medicine.
Fact: High blood pressure can be a lifelong disease. And controlling it may mean taking medicine every day for the rest of your life. To protect your health, never stop taking your blood pressure medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so.
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