Reducing high blood pressure and your FSA

Almost 67 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. There are many causes of high blood pressure whether genetic, age-related, diet-related, stress-related or due to lack of physical activity. Though high blood pressure is usually symptom-free, it can lead to stroke and heart disease.

What's Normal?

Blood pressure is measured by looking at two numbers - systolic and diastolic. Systolic refers to pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats, and diastolic refers to pressure in vessels when the heart rests.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mmHg (systolic) and less than 80mmHg (diastolic). Anything above these numbers could indicate a risk, and anything around 140 mmHg (systolic) and higher than 90 mmHg signifies means high blood pressure.

Steps to help lower your blood pressure:

Schedule a visit with your doctor. It's a good habit to see a health care specialist each year for a physical. Your doctor will take your blood pressure, and can offer advice on how to track your blood pressure if that is a concern. A Flexible Spending Account provides access to many health care providers. Find local FSA eligible service providers through FSAstore.com.

Monitor your vitals at home. Blood pressure monitors qualify for coverage under a Flexible Spending Account. FSAstore.com sells FSA eligible blood pressure monitors.

Start with a healthy, balanced diet. Your diet you should consist of a large amount of vegetables and fruits. Avoid processed meals and foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake to be heart healthy.

Monitor your weight. Fat is calculated based on your weight and height (Body Mass Index - BMI). WebMD has a simple tool to calculate BMI.

Exercise regularly. A healthy dose of exercise should include cardio and at least last 30 minutes a few times a week.

Limit or avoid tobacco and alcohol use. Both contribute to high blood pressure, and smoking can lead to heart disease.

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