This post is written in collaboration with the American Heart Association. As always all opinions are 100% my own.
Look, adulting is hard. There’s the bills, the responsibilities, the exercising and making sure you’re eating properly because sometimes you can just glance at food and gain the weight. There’s also the aches and pains which sometimes take you by surprise—one minute you’re at a day party giving your best 99 to the 2000 twerk to “Back That Thang Up” and then next thing you know, you can’t get out of bed for like two days :x
But what also comes with adulthood is making better choices when it comes to your health. And never before have I seen topics like self-care be so dominant on social media–in fact, I’m partnered today with the American Heart Association during National High Blood Pressure education month to talk about my own experience with high blood pressure in hopes of inspiring many of you to have yours checked. Nearly half of all U.S. adults have high blood pressure. That’s nearly 103 MILLION people!
I’ve had a time or two (or five) when I’ve gone to the doctor and had to re-take my blood pressure because they were worried about my levels bordering into the “high” category. But then I’d take it again and it would be okay—getting to the doctor can be an ordeal for me with finding parking and walking up hills. But this doesn’t let me off the hook—both my mom and my sister have high blood pressure so I have to be cognizant of where I am with my health.
According to the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology’s 2017 guidelines, high blood pressure is classified as a systolic reading of 130 or higher, or a diastolic reading of 80 mm Hg or higher.
Now here’s the thing about high blood pressure—it’s a very sneaky condition. There aren’t many signs to look out for—you have to have your blood pressure checked regularly. And those of us of African or Latino descent, we’re at a higher risk. So there’s the first step—have your blood pressure checked and talk to your crew about doing the same. AHA has an interactive chart that can help you determine if your levels are safe and also offer practical tips on how to lower your blood pressure. Now that it’s warmer out, I have been out and about more and making sure I get in as much physical activity as possible. I also try to cook at home more where I can control how healthy my meals are. I also try to stay away from stressful situations as that can also help keep my blood pressure in the safe range. It’s important that I maintain a healthier lifestyle because uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke. And I’m not going out like that.
May 17th is World Hypertension Day—let’s vow to be better about our health and inspire those around us. Find out more about high blood pressure along with practical tips to manage it at www.heart.org/bplevels.