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Veterans Health Administration

Veterans: Do You Have High Blood Pressure?

Man in scrubs taking a woman's blood pressure

 

Time to find out. And do something about it.

An estimated 68 million American adults have high blood pressure. That’s about one in every three US adults.

High Blood Pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the United States.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t realize they have it. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Veterans should ask their VA health care provider what their blood pressure is and write it down.

Keep track of your blood pressure numbers with the log at the MyHealtheVet website.

High Blood Pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms.

Why is high blood pressure dangerous?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessels. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it is called hypertension.

diagram of a blood vessel: Blood pressure is the measurement of force applied to artery walls

 

If it is not controlled, high blood pressure can cause:

  • Stroke
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Eye problems

Most people with high blood pressure feel healthy and don’t have symptoms.

The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure, or to treat it if it is already high.

Preventing and Controlling High Blood Pressure

What can you do to prevent or control high blood pressure?

  1. Quit smoking and/or chewing tobacco.
  2. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  3. Be physically active.
  4. Reduce salt in your diet.
  5. Limit alcohol.

VA has a great website with more information and suggestions on preventing and controlling high blood pressure. For even more facts and risk factors, read the CDC High Blood Pressure website.