Over the past few years , the CDC has teamed up with Million Hearts® in order to prevent one million strokes and heart attacks in the U.S. by the year 2017. Each New Year, people all over the world set personal goals to accomplish by the end of the year. Whether it’s losing those five pesky pounds, quitting smoking, or visiting relatives more often, there should definitely be this one goal on everyone’s list: staying on top of their heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people each February (and all year round), to pay attention to their blood pressure. NJ Top Docs wants its readers to join the CDC and Million Hearts® in this national campaign.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, making it four times more likely for them to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. Most times, there are no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure. It is imperative that people check their blood pressure regularly.

The CDC offers the following suggestions to maintaining good heart health:
“Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card [920 KB] from Million Hearts®.

Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.

Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.”

More information about high blood pressure is available at CDC’s High Blood Pressure website. In addition, the following resources are available to help you and your loved ones make control your goal:
High Blood Pressure: How to Make Control Your Goal
Supporting Your Loved One with High Blood Pressure
African Americans Heart Disease and Stroke Fact Sheet


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