High blood pressure is a common problem among Americans. In fact, there are more than 75 million people with high blood pressure living in the United States. Are you one of them?

During American Heart Month this February, our team at AFC Urgent Care Cleveland wants you to know the important role your blood pressure plays in your heart health—and how sleep impacts your blood pressure.

How Does High Blood Pressure Increase Heart Disease Risk?

Blood pressure is defined as the pressure with which blood hits your artery walls as it moves throughout the body. High blood pressure, then, means that blood is hitting those walls too forcefully.

Over time, this can lead to artery damage, impacting the heart’s ability to properly pump blood. Fortunately, you can take steps to limit your risk.

Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

  • Increase activity and exercise more.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight.
  • Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Eat more potassium and less sodium.
  • Eat less processed food.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce excess stress.
  • Try meditation or yoga.

How Does Sleep Affect Your Blood Pressure Level?

Sleep is important to our overall health, including our blood pressure. Experts recommend that most adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.

When you are not getting enough sleep at night, your body is unable to regulate stress hormones. As a result, your blood pressure rises. Practice healthy sleep habits in order to help prevent high blood pressure.

Healthy Sleep Habits

  • Stick to a sleep schedule.
  • Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
  • Avoid naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Keep the bedroom cool and dark.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Has it been a while since your last blood pressure check? If it has been over a year, stop by AFC Urgent Care Cleveland today. No appointment is necessary.