Heart Health: Know Your Numbers - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Heart Health: Know Your Numbers

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FOX19 -

MinuteClinic Nurse Practitioner Yvette Steffens discussed Heart Health and specifically Blood Pressure. And, of course, February is Heart Health Month.

Why does heart health remain such a big issue in the United States?

We’ve made tremendous strides in educating Americans about making personal lifestyle changes, such as quitting tobacco products. The primary issue is the epidemic of obesity in the United States that commonly leads to issues with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. All are huge contributors to heart disease.

And what’s the best way to monitor your condition?

Know your numbers - whether you check them on your own using some of the electronic equipment available for home testing or you have it done by a medical professional. It’s the number one way to determine your heart health. Those numbers include your cholesterol, your blood sugar, your blood pressure and your body mass index based on your height and weight.

That’s why on Valentine’s Day, we’ll be conducting free heart health screenings at MinuteClinic to check your numbers between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Stop by any of our MinuteClinic locations in select CVS Pharmacy stores in Ohio. This is part of CVS and MinuteClinic’s sponsorship of heart month and the Go Red for Women movement.

Let’s focus on blood pressure. What do we need to know?

  • Blood pressure is simply the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system.
  • You should have it checked once a year by a medical professional; more often if you have high blood pressure known as hypertension.
  • Numbers less than 120/80 are normal for most adults. For most seniors, it can be a little higher. But the numbers can be a little confusing. Here’s what you need to know.
  • The first number is the systolic reading, which is the amount of pressure in your arteries during contraction of your heart muscle.  Anything in the 120 to 139 range is pre-hypertensive; and anything above that is considered high
  • The second number is the diastolic reading.  It indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats anything in the 80-89 range is pre-hypertensive; anything above that is considered high

What lifestyle changes can be made to reduce your blood pressure?

  • Ways to reduce blood pressure include losing weight, reducing salt in the diet and quitting smoking if that is a factor
  • If you can’t lower the numbers on your own, your primary care provider or another medical professional like myself may prescribe medication to assist.

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