Knowing your blood pressure numbers and whether you are at risk is important. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 of 3 U.S. adults – or about 75 million people – have high blood pressure, but only about half (54%) of these people have their high blood pressure under control.
The top number (systolic pressure) measures how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) measures how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart is resting between beats. Having either number elevated can lead to a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. Hypertension Stage 1 is when blood pressure consistently ranges from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. According to recent studies, the risk of death from heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic increase or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
- Statins – Generic cholesterol-lowering medications called statins are covered with $0 copay under the U-M Prescription Drug Plan. Statins can help prevent heart disease and stroke for adults with certain risk factors. Brand name statins still have a copay.
- Free blood pressure monitor – Blue Cross Blue Shield will provide a free blood pressure cuff to members older than 18 after a physician’s note is provided.
- 8 Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure (from U-M CVC) – High blood pressure is serious but can be treated — usually with basic lifestyle changes. Consider these simple steps to lower yours.