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Heart Healthy Month: High Blood Pressure

February is American Heart Month aimed at shining a light on the No. 1 killer of all Americans — heart disease. It’s estimated that 659,000 people in the U.S. die from cardiovascular disease each year – that’s one in every four deaths. While there are a variety of causes to this alarming statistic, hypertension tops the list as one of the most important risk factors for heart disease.

Nearly half of adults in the U.S. have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Take action this month to lower your risk. Check out this four-week challenge designed to develop lifestyle habits that may help you improve and control your blood pressure. Learn more here.

Additionally, here are a few lifestyle tips to take to heart!

Eat a Healthy Diet

Choose healthy meal and snack options to help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI). If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight website.

Be Physically Active

Physical activity can help keep you at a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure.

Do Not Smoke

Smoking raises your blood pressure and puts you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. If you do not smoke, do not start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease.

Limit How Much Alcohol You Drink

Do not drink too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day, and women should have no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day.

Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important to your overall health, and enough sleep is part of keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

For more information on high blood pressure, please check out these helpful resources provided by Optum: