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Home News High Blood Pressure: A Silent Threat
David Morgan
575-528-5197 Office
575-649-0754 Mobile

High Blood Pressure: A Silent Threat

April 21, 2016 - EMS Stroke/STEMI - Awareness

A New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) report late last year revealed the most common disease related to hospitalizations is heart disease.

The numbers weren’t even close. The most recent Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data annual report found 12,234 New Mexicans were hospitalized due to heart disease in 2014 – nearly 4,000 more cases than the second most common reason for hospitalization.

One of the leading causes of heart disease and strokes both in New Mexico and nationwide is hypertension – better known as high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. When it gets high and stays high it can damage your heart.

About 4000 New Mexicans die every year from heart disease and stroke.  Heart disease for years has consistently been the first or second leading cause of death among both women and men in New Mexico annually. Stroke has been the 5th leading cause.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports high blood pressure affects one of every three Americans, and an estimated 13 million have hypertension that is undiagnosed and untreated. Because hypertension rarely has symptoms, too often they are "hiding in plain sight." It's not often a topic patients discuss with their health care providers. Even while following best practices and providing the highest level of care, providers can have patients who are at risk for hypertension or who remain undiagnosed.

There's only one way to know whether you have high blood pressure—measure it. Have a doctor or other health professional do it for you or get a blood pressure measurement from the machines available at many pharmacies. There are also home monitoring devices for blood pressure that you can use yourself.

Here’s what your blood pressure numbers mean: There’s two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels 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." The chart below shows normal, at-risk, and high blood pressure levels. A blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg is normal. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or more is too high. People with levels in between 120/80 and 140/90 have a condition called prehypertension, which means they are at high risk for high blood pressure.


Blood Pressure Levels
Normal systolic: less than 120 mmHg
diastolic: less than 80mmHg
At risk (prehypertension) systolic: 120–139 mmHg
diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
High systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

If your blood pressure is at risk or high, talk to your health care provider. They may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are just as important as medications. They include:

  • Diet. Eat a healthy diet that is:
    • Low in salt, 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. Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program (TUPAC) offers counseling free of charge at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Morgan at 575-528-5197 (Office) or 575-649-0754 (Mobile) with your questions.

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