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This American Heart Month: Know your blood pressure numbers

This American Heart Month: Know your blood pressure numbers

BISMARCK, ND - February is American Heart Month, a month to raise awareness about heart disease and prevention. North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) wants North Dakotans to know their risk factors, especially their blood pressure numbers and actions they can take to support their heart health.

Heart disease was the leading cause of death in North Dakota in 2021. The same year, 31.1% of adults in North Dakota reported having ever been told by a health care provider that they had high blood pressure. High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are primary risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Both often go undetected or are not properly controlled.

Blood pressure levels can be measured by a health care professional, at a pharmacy or with a home blood pressure monitor. The American Heart Association defines normal blood pressure as less than 120/80 mmHg and recommends regular screenings starting at age 20.

Heart health risks increase with age. However, it is important for all adults to pay attention to their blood pressure.

According to the American Heart Association, 80% of heart disease is preventable. Simple lifestyle changes can have a life-saving impact on reducing high blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Follow these heart-healthy lifestyle tips:

  • Be active and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Stop tobacco use including vaping, smoking and chewing.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Limit highly-caffeinated energy drinks.

North Dakota Medicaid encourages its members to know their numbers and schedule a yearly wellness checkup with a health care provider for a blood pressure check.

For more information, visit hhs.nd.gov/health/community/nd-heart-disease-stroke-prevention or reach out to a health care provider or community pharmacist.

Related Programs and Resources

NDQuits is a free program to help North Dakotans quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco products.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the WIC program provide nutrition support to supplement the food budget of lower income families.

Toy heart in hands

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