Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it has no early warning signs, and many people don’t know they have it until they experience a serious health crisis, such as a heart attack or stroke. Yet the condition is both preventable and treatable. The first thing to do is get your blood pressure checked by your primary care doctor or other healthcare professional once a year–more often if you have a family history of high blood pressure or are at greater risk for the condition due to poor eating habits, excess weight and lack of exercise or if you’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

With about 30 percent of 1199SEIU members living with hypertension, we work hard to keep you informed about its dangers through numerous initiatives, including worksite wellness fairs and presentations, and health workshops that focus on this dangerous condition. We also provide resources and information in many forms–including our new Healthy Living Spotlight video series–to promote healthy habits and help you reduce your risk of developing hypertension.

This year, several panels of health experts issued new hypertension guidelines, shown on the table here. If you receive a reading outside of the normal range on two separate occasions, that means you are at elevated risk for cardiovascular problems. Talk with your doctor right away about steps you can take to control your condition–or even reverse it–through healthy lifestyle changes, medication or both.

Sources: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American College of Cardiology; American Heart Association

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