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6 Misunderstandings about Blood Pressure

One-third of American adults have higher than acceptable blood pressure, and less than half of them have their high blood pressure controlled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Uncontrolled hypertension, as treatable as it is, has numerous and serious health consequences as this CDC infographic illustrates, including a four-fold increase in likelihood of dying from stroke and a three-fold increase in likelihood of dying from heart disease. Blood pressure is a critical measure of health and reveals how much pressure is being placed on our blood vessel walls. It’s expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for both systolic (when the heart is contracting to force blood flow through arteries) and diastolic (when the heart is relaxed and is re-filling its chambers for the next beat). Chronically elevated blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” because it wreaks havoc on our bodies without showing obvious symptoms. Even with public awareness around blood pressure, misunderstandings are pervasive and can discourage us from seeking the full evaluation and medical assistance we may need to monitor this essential health marker. Read on to learn six blood pressure misconceptions.


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