Whether you're at risk for getting high blood pressure or already have it, here's what you can do to get the most from the Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) recommendations.
Monitor your blood pressure regularly. If you don't have high blood pressure, get your blood pressure checked regularly as recommended by your doctor. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about how often you should monitor your blood pressure. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about what type of monitor is right for you. Make sure you:
- understand how to use and maintain the monitor
- read the instructions carefully
- take your monitor to your next doctor's office visit so your doctor can check to see if your monitor produces the same reading as the doctor gets
Reduce your risk factors for high blood pressure and heart disease. Although some risk factors can't be changed (e.g., family history, age), many risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, too much dietary salt, stress, and too much alcohol intake can be changed. Talk to your doctor to find out exactly what you can do to reduce your risk.
Know your target blood pressure. For most people with high blood pressure, the target is to have blood pressure that is less than 140/90. However, in certain circumstances (e.g., if you have diabetes or kidney disease), the target values are lower. People with diabetes or kidney disease should aim for a blood pressure of less than 130/80. For people age 80 and older, the targets are less than 150/90 mmHg. Talk to your doctor about what your blood pressure target is and monitor your blood pressure regularly. Let your doctor know if you are not reaching your target – your treatment plan may need to be adjusted.
Following the recommendations will help keep you and your heart healthy!
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