High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common and dangerous condition in which the pressure in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke and is a common complication of other chronic diseases like diabetes. About 1 out of 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure and only about half have it under control. The good news is that you can take steps to control your blood pressure and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Measuring Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because it has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. The only way to know if you have it is to measure your blood pressure regularly, which can be done at a doctor’s office, at a pharmacy, or at home. Learn more about how to self-monitor your blood pressure.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:

  1. Systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
  2. Diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.

The chart below shows normal, at-risk, and high blood pressure levels.

Blood Pressure

Controlling High Blood Pressure

Along with monitoring your blood pressure, adopting a healthy lifestyle is important in preventing and managing hypertension.  Below are some of the lifestyle changes you can make to be healthier:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Quit tobacco products and/or avoid tobacco smoke
  • Comply with medication prescriptions
  • Drink in moderation

By adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle, you can:

  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure
  • Improve the effectiveness of your blood pressure medications
  • Lower your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease


Public Health - Idaho North Central District
215 10th Street
Lewiston, ID 83501

Phone: (208) 799-3100
Fax: (208) 799-0349

Idaho Careline: 211

EPI ISSUES: 1-800-632-8000
For medical emergencies dial: 911.


All information is general in nature and is not intended to be used as a substitute for appropriate professional advice.

For more information please call (208) 799-3100 or Idaho Careline: 211.

Idaho Public Health

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