Blood pressure is vital to life. It’s the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels as it’s pushed throughout your body. Throughout the day, blood pressure rises and falls but when it stays high for prolonged periods of time, this can damage the heart and raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke. When pressure is high, blood vessels stretch so blood flows more easily, but over time this stretching scars and weakens them. It’s worth pointing out that after diabetes, high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the United States.

Around one out of every three adults live with hypertension (high blood pressure), but only half have it under control. It’s hard to tell on your own if you have hypertension as it has few to no symptoms. When you can, have your blood pressure checked by a healthcare professional and always ask what it is so you can keep track of how it is doing. A wise investment is a home blood pressure monitor so you can take it yourself on a regular basis. Ideal resting pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is defined as 140/90 or higher.

Rusty Improta is a nutritional consultant and owns Rusty’s Vitamins, located at 5 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg, 334-8212.

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