My blood pressure is up….  How high is too high?  Hypertension or high blood pressure commonly occurs as people age.  Nearly half (50%) of all adults in the United States have hypertension (and many of those adults do not know they have it).   Recent clinical guidelines have changed the way we define and treat blood pressure.  Hypertension is now defined as systolic (top number) pressure greater than 130 and diastolic (bottom number) pressure greater than 80 (130/80) for people of all ages, depending on the guidelines one reads.  Pre-hypertension is blood pressure between 120-129/>80.   

It is easy to check your blood pressure.  Many communities’ health centers, senior centers, or clinics provide free blood pressure checks.  FAMC has teamed up with SD Dept of Health to create a Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure program, in which people who are interested can borrow a blood pressure cuff from the Faulkton Clinic, receive education, and monitor their own blood pressure at home for several weeks. This can then be reviewed with your medical provider. One elevated number does not tell an adequate picture of your blood pressure.  Several checks that are elevated are almost always correct.  If you have concerns about your blood pressure, please discuss them with your health-care provider. 

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