Saint Alphonsus Health System


High Blood Pressure also known as Hypertension affects greater than 75 million Americans. Hypertension has no symptoms. It is important to manage your blood pressure to remain healthy. Here are some risk factors and tips for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a measurement of the force against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. People with high blood pressure have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other medical conditions.

Blood pressure readings are usually given as two numbers, systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number).

  • Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg
  • High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above
  • If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension, which makes you at risk for high blood pressure

Risk Factors

Many factors can affect blood pressure, including:

  • Increasing age (Greater than 50 years of age)
  • African American or Hispanic descent
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol intake(more than one drink per day for women and more than two drinks per day for men)
  • Too much salt intake
  • A family history of high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Kidney disease
  • Use certain medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen or naproxen, or the use of decongestants.


Most of the time, there are no symptoms. For most patients, high blood pressure is found when they visit their healthcare provider. Because there are no symptoms, people can develop heart disease and kidney problems because they live with unmanaged high blood pressure.


The goal of treatment is to reduce blood pressure so you have a lower risk of complications. You and your healthcare provider should set a blood pressure goal, implementing lifestyle changes to help you reach a normal range.

You can do many things to help control your blood pressure, including:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet, use low-salt options. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet offers many tips for health eating,
  • Be physically active, exercise regularly -- at least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Every step counts.
  • If you smoke, quit -- find a program that will help you stop.
  • Limit alcohol intake -- one drink a day for women, two a day for men.
  • Limit the amount of salt you eat -- aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
  • Reduce stress -- try to avoid things that cause you stress. Practice relaxation techniques-The Relaxation Response.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Take your blood pressure at home and know your numbers.
  • Take your prescribed medications as directed.

Need help managing your high blood pressure? Find a hypertension doctor call 208-367-DOCS (3627) or 877-401-DOCS (3627).


The Effects of High Blood Pressure: Learn how high blood pressure that isn't treated can cause serious health problems.

Lifestyle Changes to Lower Blood Pressure: Learn how healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure.