Calvert County Health Department
Heart disease remains the number one cause of death for Americans. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading cause of heart disease. More than half of the adults in the United States between the ages of 60-69 have high blood pressure and for those over 70 more than three-fourths adults do. African Americans living in the United States are more likely to develop high blood pressure and to develop it earlier in life.
Blood pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats and the heart is at rest. It’s measured in millimeters of mercury. Your blood pressure is normal if it’s below 120 / 80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to hardening of the arteries. It increases your chance for a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness.
Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Keep a record of the readings so you can show your doctor on your next visit. Take your blood pressure medicine that was given to you by your doctor as prescribed. There are several places in Calvert County that provide free blood pressure screening:
- Calvert County Health Department, Monday – Friday 8:30am to 10am (410) 535-5400 ext.334.
- Calvert Memorial Hospital, 3rd Tuesday of the month from 11:am – 1:00pm (410) 414-4775
- Calvert Senior Pines, Fridays from 9:30am – 10:30am (410) 535-4606/(301) 855-1170.
- Southern Pines Senior Center, Tuesday from 10:00am – 12:00noon (410) 586-2748.
- North Beach Senior Center, Tuesday from 11:00am – 12:00noon (410) 257-2549.
- Twin Beaches Community Health Center – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm (410) 257-7279.
Life style changes can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Stop smoking
- Aim for a healthy weight (watch portion sizes)
- Stay active – work toward 30 minutes of moderate level of activity at least 5 days a week
- Reduce the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet. Eat out less often, read the food labels.
- Cut back on alcohol – for a man 2 drinks and day. If you’re a woman – 1 drink a day
WARNING SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK AND STROKE
- Chest discomfort that last more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. It can feel like a weight on your chest, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Pain/discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort
- Cold sweat, lightheadedness, nausea.
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg. Especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking. Dizziness or loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure
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