Common High Blood Pressure Myths

Video: 130 Is Too High For Blood Pressure

Know the facts and bust the myths

Knowing the facts can help you make smart choices. By learning about high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, you can shatter these myths.

Myth: High blood pressure runs in my family. There is nothing I can do to prevent it.

High blood pressure can run in families. You are more likely to develop high blood pressure if your parents or close blood relatives have had it. However, lifestyle choices have allowed many people with a family history of high blood pressure to avoid it.

Myth: I don’t use table salt, so I’m in control of my sodium intake and my blood pressure.

Sodium can increase blood pressure for some people. Controlling sodium means more than putting down the salt shaker. It also means reading food labels. Most sodium we eat is hidden in processed foods such as tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes. Read the Nutrition Facts labels of prepared and packaged foods. Look for the words “soda” and “sodium” and the symbol “Na” on labels. These words show that sodium is present. 

Myth: I use kosher or sea salt when I cook instead of regular table salt. They are low-sodium options.

Kosher salt and sea salt have the same amount of sodium as table salt. It is not healthier to have sea salt or kosher salt instead of table salt.

Myth: I feel fine. I don’t have to worry about high blood pressure.

Over 100 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure. Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. It’s often called “the silent killer” because it usually has no symptoms.

You may not be aware that it’s damaging your arteries, heart and other organs. Know your numbers and don’t assume symptoms will let you know there’s a problem.

Myth: I read that wine is good for the heart. So, I can drink as much as I want.

Heavy and regular use of alcohol can greatly increase blood pressure.

If you drink alcohol, including red wine, do so in moderation. Limit yourself to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Generally, one drink equals:

  • 12-ounce beer (5% content)
  • 8-ounce malt liquor (7% content)
  • 5-ounce glass of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor

Myth: I have high blood pressure. My health care professional checks it for me. This means I don’t need to check it at home.

Blood pressure readings can vary. Home monitoring and recording of blood pressure readings can provide your health care professional with valuable information. It can help them determine if you have high blood pressure and whether your treatment plan is working. It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day or as your health care professional suggests.

Myth: I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I have recently had lower readings, so I can stop taking my medication.

High blood pressure can be a lifelong disease. Follow your health care professional’s recommendations, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life. Blood pressure can increase again if you stop taking medications. By partnering with your health care team, you can reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.