If you have high blood pressure you are at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, when it comes to your blood pressure, you are in control. The videos and resources on this page will help you better understand high blood pressure (also called hypertension) and the steps you can take to prevent or treat it.
High Blood Pressure Basics
Is your heart working overtime? Watch this video to find out what hypertension is, what causes it, and why you should care.
Treating High Blood Pressure
There are many ways to treat hypertension, from reducing the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet to taking medication. Learn how each of these treatments works in your body and how they protect you from a heart attack or stroke.
The Team Up. Pressure Down. program offers free tools and resources to help you manage hypertension, track and take your medication(s) as directed, plus helpful tips on how to work with your pharmacist between visits to your doctor.
- My Blood Pressure Journal [PDF-953K]
With the help of this journal, you'll learn how to manage and control your high blood pressure. You will also learn what questions to ask your pharmacist or doctor if you are worried about your condition or medication(s). Use this journal on a daily basis to record your blood pressure readings and prescription information and to help you reach your health goals.
- Medication tracker wallet card [PDF-210K]
Use this pocket-sized card to keep track of your medications and refills. Brought to you by Million Hearts® and the Script Your Future campaign.
- Join our Facebook community
Become a fan of Million Hearts® on Facebook for daily tips and information on how to reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What is Hypertension?
Did you know? One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure and many of them do not know it. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. High blood pressure is unsafe because it makes your heart work harder to pump blood. This can cause damage to the arteries and puts you at risk for a heart attack or stroke.
The Silent Killer. High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. Many people don’t realize they have it. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
Measuring your blood pressure. It is quick and painless to measure your blood pressure. You can get a reading at your pharmacy, doctor’s office, or even at home. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers—systolic and diastolic. Use the Blood Pressure Calculator to find out what your numbers mean.
You can control your blood pressure. For some people, making healthy changes in their lives can help lower blood pressure. For others, medication may be needed as well. If your doctor gives you one or more medications as part of a treatment plan, be sure to take them as directed. Work with your pharmacist and doctor to create a plan that works best for you.
Talk to your pharmacist. Did you know that your pharmacist can answer your general high blood pressure questions, and even take your blood pressure? Your pharmacist is not only trained to fill your prescriptions, but can help you better understand your condition and the medications you are taking.
Team Up. Pressure Down. Through medication, healthy lifestyle changes, and working closely with your health care team, you can get—and keep—your blood pressure under control. That’s a message to take to heart.
What Do Your Blood Pressure Readings Mean?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. Do you know if your blood pressure is normal?
Your blood pressure is made up of two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure measures the total pressure it takes the heart to pump blood to the body. Diastolic pressure is when the heart relaxes between beats and fills again with blood. Blood pressure numbers are written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. It is usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
What It Means
Less than 120
Less than 80
Your blood pressure is normal but you should take steps to keep it that way. Blood pressure usually increases with age.
You have an increased risk of future hypertension. You should regularly monitor your blood pressure and make lifestyle modifications to bring your numbers into a normal range.
Stage 1 Hypertension
Your readings indicate that you may have hypertension and should seek medical care. Your doctor will discuss treatment options and may prescribe medication(s) to help lower your blood pressure. If you have questions about your medications or treatment, you can also speak to your pharmacist.
160 or higher
100 or higher
Stage 2 Hypertension
Your readings indicate that you have hypertension and should seek immediate medical care. Your doctor will probably prescribe 1 or more medications to help lower your blood pressure.
Important steps that everyone can take:
- Check your blood pressure regularly.
Getting your blood pressure checked is important because high blood pressure often has no symptoms. Your doctor can measure your blood pressure, or you can use a machine available at many pharmacies. You can also use a home monitoring device to measure your blood pressure.
Learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure
- Eat a healthy diet.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, which provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. Also, eat whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Avoid sodium by limiting the amount of salt you add to your food. Be aware that many processed foods and restaurant meals are high in sodium.
Learn about the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight can raise your blood pressure. Losing weight can help you lower your blood pressure.
Learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight
- Be physically active.
Adults should engage in moderate physical activities for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week.
Learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity
- Limit alcohol use.
If you drink alcohol, you should do so in moderation—no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.
Learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol
- Don't smoke.
Smoking injures blood vessels and speeds up the hardening of the arteries. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Learn more: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco
Through active engagement with patients, you and other pharmacists can help improve blood pressure management and adherence to hypertension medications.
How You Can Team Up with Patients
As a pharmacist, you play a vital role in helping patients manage their hypertension and improve their health. Find out how you can use every pharmacy visit as an opportunity to guide your patients to the best possible outcomes.
High Blood Pressure Basics
Encourage your patients to watch this video to find out what hypertension is, what causes it, and why they should care.
Treating High Blood Pressure
This video provides an overview of the different options available to treat hypertension. Patients will learn how medications work in the body and the importance of working with a pharmacist to minimize side effects and take medications as prescribed.
Below you will find time-saving tools and resources to help you better identify and engage patients with high blood pressure. In addition, a number of resources are available to assist patients in self-management of their condition and medications. We invite you to become a fan of Million Hearts® on Facebook for the latest information on Team Up. Pressure Down.
Pharmacists: Participate in a free education activity, Team Up. Pressure Down. Coaching Patients to Take Control, and earn CPE credits. This one-hour, OnDemand webinar will update you on blood pressure management issues and provide tips for communicating with your patients. Click here to learn more about the activity and register.
Note: To obtain 1.0 contact hour of continuing pharmacy education credit (0.1 CEU); participants must participate in the one-hour webinar and complete an activity evaluation and exam at www.GoToCEI.org.
Upon completion of this knowledge-based CPE activity, pharmacists will be able to:
- Discuss the Million Hearts® Team Up. Pressure Down. initiative.
- Describe the incidence and effect of hypertension on the health of Americans.
- Discuss the obstacles and impact of adherence in patients with hypertension.
- Utilize tools to identify and assist non-adherent patients to achieve better health outcomes.
- Examine the use of motivational interviewing techniques to help patients improve blood pressure control.
- Effectively counsel, engage and coach patients on ways to manage their hypertension.
For Your Pharmacy
- Overview of materials [PDF-325K]
All of the materials in this section are available for download and print and can be accessed via computer, tablet, or smartphone. You may also print as many copies as you need. Several of these materials may be customized by adding your company?s logo, which can help increase visibility of your pharmacy?s services in the community. For editable, printer-ready PDFs that will allow you to co-brand the materials and a copy of our branding guidelines, please send an e-mail to email@example.com.
- Instructions for customizing your materials [PDF-193K]
- Pocket discussion tool [PDF-413K]
Quick tips and conversation starters—in a convenient pocket size—helps you maximize time spent with patients on the topic of blood pressure.
- DRAW© (Drug Adherence Work-up) tool [PDF-273K]
Print this tool or access it on your mobile device to help start and manage a conversation about medication adherence and its barriers. Brought to you by the University of Iowa and Team Up. Pressure Down.
- Blood pressure guide [PDF-321K]
A quick reference guide on taking blood pressure readings and encouraging patients to use the monitor available in your pharmacy. This guide also includes information for patients about regular monitoring and recommendations you can give to keep blood pressure down.
- Poster [PDF-259K]
Hang this checklist inside your pharmacy as a reminder to speak with patients about hypertension. Depending on the size of your pharmacy space, you may choose to hang a smaller version of the poster [PDF-225K].
For Your Patients
- My Blood Pressure Journal [PDF-953K]
Give this journal to your patients to help them better understand important hypertension information, track blood pressure readings, and record information about their pharmacies and prescriptions. A tear-away section is designed to help patients enlist the support of loved ones in the management of their hypertension.
- Medication tracker wallet card [PDF-210K]
A pocket-sized card for patients to keep track of medications and their uses, refill dates, dosages, and how often to take each one. Brought to you by the Script your Future campaign and Million Hearts®.
- Postcard [PDF-816K]
Help spread the word about Team Up. Pressure Down. by offering this postcard to your customers. The card provides an overview of hypertension and instructions for accessing more information.
- Medication reminders
Since forgetting to take medications is one of the most common reasons patients are non-adherent, the following two tools were designed to serve as a friendly reminder that they will see frequently throughout the day. Offer the magnet [PDF-142K] for patients to place on their refrigerator, or as an alternative you may choose to offer your patients a sheet from the tear pad [PDF-200K] to hang on the refrigerator or place by the telephone.
- Blood Pressure Calculator
Encourage your patients to find out what their blood pressure readings mean with this tool. The calculator is available on Facebook.
Recent studies show that pharmacist-directed care, in collaboration with physicians or nurses, improves the management of major cardiovascular risk factors in outpatients, including high blood pressure.?Team Up. Pressure Down. is a nationwide program from the CDC?s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, in partnership with the Million Hearts® initiative, to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension through pharmacist-patient engagement.
Become a Partner
Team Up. Pressure Down. partners with organizations from across the public and private health sectors, including federal agencies, pharmacists, businesses, health advocacy groups, and community organizations.
Share in our commitment with the pharmacy community to help save lives and combat hypertension. Learn more about becoming a partner.
- Pharmacy Partner Fact Sheet [PDF-331K]
- Professional Organization Partner Fact Sheet [PDF-361K]
- Corporate Partner Fact Sheet [PDF-364K]
- Consumer Advocacy Partner Fact Sheet [PDF-260K]
- Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP)
- American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP)
- American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP)
- American Heart Association (AHA)
- American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
- Blue Ridge Mountain Group LLC
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Community Pharmacy Foundation
- Compliant Pharmacy Alliance
- Creative Pharmacist
- National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA)
- National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation
- National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)
- National Consumers League (NCL)
- Pharmacy Quality Alliance Board of Directors
- U.S. HHS Indian Health Service (IHS)
- U.S. HHS Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS)
- University of Iowa College of Pharmacy
- University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
- WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
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