9 Things You Can Do Right Now To Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure kills — and it kills quietly.

There aren't any obvious signs (other than a cuff reading) that a person's blood pressure is dangerously high, which is why many call hypertension the "silent killer."

It can be tough to see outward signs of pressure building up in a person's blood vessels until it's too late and the extra stress on arteries leads to a heart attack, a stroke, or heart failure.

In 2013, the problem contributed to more than 1,000 deaths in the US every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology lowered the bar for what they consider high blood pressure to a cuff reading above 130/80, down from 140/90.

The new guidelines mean nearly half of adults in the US — 46% — should lower their blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

Here are some tips on how to do it.

Blood pressure is measured in two numbers. They measure how hard your blood is pushing against the walls of your arteries as it circulates. Too much pressure isn't good for the body.

The top number is your systolic pressure, or the amount of pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. It ideally should remain below 120.

The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, or the amount of pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats. It should stay below 80.

If you want to lower your blood pressure, spend some time with family and friends — or yourself.

Stress contributes to blood pressure, so enjoying time relaxing with family or friends is a great way to lower your risk of heart problems.

The Mayo Clinic even suggests taking 15 to 20 minutes a day to simply "sit quietly and breathe deeply."

Being thankful is also great for your heart.

A 2015 study found that patients with heart failure who spent more time appreciating life and giving thanks were healthier.

"It seems that a more grateful heart is indeed a more healthy heart," said Paul Mills, one of the study's authors. "Gratitude journaling is an easy way to support cardiac health."

Jump around.

A bit of movement can also boost heart health.

When you're more physically active, the heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood around the body.

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