"Blood pressure" is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it's called high blood pressure. With high blood pressure, or hypertension, the blood can't flow easily through your blood vessels. This puts pressure on your vessels, which damages the vessels and strains your heart. As a result, blood doesn't flow as well to your organs, and you can have a heart attack, stroke, eye problems, or kidney problems. If your blood pressure is above normal range, but not high enough to have high blood pressure, then you have prehypertension. This means that you don't have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future. Even levels slightly above normal increase your heart disease risk.
American Indian and Alaska Native women of all ages develop high blood pressure more often than non-Hispanic white women. Some things increase your chances of having high blood pressure:
For Your Heart - This portion of the womenshealth.gov website escorts you through a short, confidential survey of questions about your health and lifestyle. Based on your answers, it provides you with a series of articles detailing the latest information on exercise, nutrition, smoking, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other factors that affect you and your risk for heart disease — all tailored to your needs.
American Indian Health - This website is an information portal to information about the health of native peoples of the United States. The topics include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and environmental health.
DASH* to the Diet: Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure Following the DASH Eating Plan - This updated booklet contains a week's worth of sample menus and recipes recalculated using 2005 nutrient content data. The "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension" eating plan features plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are heart healthy and lower in salt/sodium. It also provides additional information on weight loss and physical activity.