Consider these tips for healthy blood pressure

Make physical activity part of your daily routine by getting 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Make physical activity part of your daily routine by getting 30 minutes of exercise each day.

At-home blood-pressure monitoring is an important part of managing high blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

What many don’t realize is that blood pressure monitoring should be a part of their daily routine, just the same as showering or brushing their teeth. That is because about 72 million adults — nearly one in three — in the United States have high blood pressure. In addition, about 59 million American adults have prehypertension, a condition that also increases the chance of heart disease and stroke.

Why? High blood pressure has a correlation to obesity, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States.

Obesity is defined as too much body fat and recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks. When obesity sets in, it thickens blood vessels, which, in turn, makes them rigid. Thus, the heart has to work harder to push the blood through the body and results in increased blood pressure.

Most people are familiar with the 120/80 mmHg reading, which represents the systolic — 120 mmHg — and diastolic — 80 mmHg — measurements. It is measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg, and recorded as two numbers — systolic pressure — when the heart beats — over diastolic pressure — when the heart relaxes between beats. When taking readings at home, health organizations generally agree that optimal readings should be less than 135/85 mmHg or less than 130/80 mmHg in those patients who are at high risk.

The following are some key steps Americans can weave into their routines to achieve and maintain a healthy blood pressure:

• Monitor your blood pressure at home with a blood-pressure monitor. The American Heart Association recommends people with or at risk of high blood pressure to routinely monitor their blood pressure at home, taking readings in the morning and at night.

• Select heart-healthy foods when planning meals, including foods low in saturated fat.