Blood Pressure Myths and Facts
MYTH: High blood pressure is hereditary.
FACT: While heredity increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, many people with no family history also develop it.
MYTH: The only way to control high blood pressure is with medications.
FACT:: About half of adults with high blood pressure can control it with lifestyle changes including weight loss, exercise, avoiding tobacco and limiting intake of salt, alcohol and caffeine.
MYTH: I don't use table salt, so my blood pressure isn't affected.
FACT: Most sodium consumption comes from processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes. Look for 'soda' and 'sodium' and the symbol 'Na' on labels, which show sodium compounds are present. Using kosher or sea salt doesn't make a difference; chemically they are the same as table salt.
MYTH: I feel fine. I don't have to worry about high blood pressure.
FACT: A third of American adults have high blood pressure—and many of them don't know it or don't experience typical symptoms. If uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to severe health problems, and is the No. 1 cause of stroke.
MYTH: My doctor checks my blood pressure so I don't have to do it at home.
FACT: Blood pressure can fluctuate so home monitoring can help your doctors determine whether you really have it and, if you do, whether your treatment plan is working.
MYTH: People with high blood pressure have symptoms such as nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping and facial flushing. If I don't have symptoms I don't have high blood pressure.
FACT: High blood pressure is often called 'the silent killer' because it has no symptoms, so patients may not be aware that it is damaging arteries, heart and other organs.