high blood pressure

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High Blood Pressure

Heart disease kills more New Yorkers than anything else, and high blood pressure puts you at risk.

  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, but it can be treated.
  • About one in four adult New Yorkers has high blood pressure.
  • There are usually no symptoms, so the only way to know you have high blood pressure is to get checked at your doctor’s office or neighborhood pharmacy.
  • You can lower your chance of having high blood pressure by maintaining a healthy weight, eating foods low in salt (sodium) and getting regular physical activity.
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, problems with blood vessels and blood flow, and kidney and eye problems.
  • Black and Latino adults are more likely than other adults to have high blood pressure.
  • For more information:

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood moving through your blood vessels. The higher it is, the more damage it can do to the inside of your blood vessels.

blood pressure table

Where and When to Check Your Blood Pressure

  • Everyone should know their blood pressure.
  • You can get your blood pressure checked today at your doctor’s office or your neighborhood pharmacy.
  • You may need to get your blood pressure checked often if you are at a greater risk of having high blood pressure (due to family history, previous tests showing at-risk numbers, etc.), or if a health care provider has previously said you have high blood pressure.

How to Find a Doctor If You DO Have Health Insurance

  • Get a regular provider through your health plan. You can call the number on the back of your insurance card or visit your health plan’s website to find a doctor near you.
  • Many plans ask you to choose one primary care provider to give you most of your care. This person could be a doctor (internist, gynecologist, pediatrician, etc.) or a nurse practitioner.

How to Find a Doctor If You DON'T Have Health Insurance

  • You may be eligible for low- or no-cost health insurance.
  • Learn more about health insurance by calling 311 or visiting Get Covered NYC.

How to Find a Pharmacy

All NYC neighborhoods have pharmacies. Pharmacists can check your blood pressure for free.

How to Keep Your Blood Pressure in Check

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

  • Monitoring your blood pressure throughout the day can be an important part of your treatment and care. Talk to your doctor to find out if this is necessary for you.
  • There are different kinds of blood pressure monitors. Most people prefer “automated” monitors that only require you to push a button after you put the cuff on your arm. You can buy these at pharmacies. Your health insurance may cover the cost if you are prescribed a monitor.
  • For instructions on how to measure your blood pressure, read How to Take Your Blood Pressure (PDF) [Español]
  • To help record your blood pressure readings so you can share them with your doctor, download the Blood Pressure Tracking Card (PDF) Other languages: [Español]

Take Prescribed Blood Pressure Medicine

Make Your Diet Heart-Healthy

There are many steps you can take to make your diet more heart healthy:

  • Limit salt (sodium) intake. Even if you are not being treated for high blood pressure, you can benefit from watching your sodium.
  • Eat a diet with a lot of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein such as fish and beans, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
  • Switch to healthier fats.
  • Choose healthy beverages like water. Avoid sugary drinks and drink alcohol in moderation.

For more information on a heart-healthy diet, read the National Institutes of Health's Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH (PDF). You can also check out our Healthy Eating Tips (PDF).

Get Moving

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as a brisk walk) at least 5 days a week. For more recommendations, including examples of moderate-level physical activities, check out this guide.

You can find opportunities for physical activity through NYC Parks, such as free Shape Up NYC classes. There are also indoor recreation center memberships available, including discounts for seniors ages 62 and older, veterans, young adults, youth, and people with disabilities. If you're over the age of 60, you can find heart healthy activities at a nearby senior center.

See Health Bulletin: Want to Get Healthier? Make NYC Your GYM (PDF)
Other languages: [Español] [中文]

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Losing 5 to 10% of your weight can improve your blood pressure. For the average overweight or obese adult in the city, that means dropping 10 to 20 pounds. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity can help with weight management.

See our Guide to Healthy Eating and Active Living (PDF)

If You Smoke, Quit Now

It is hard to quit smoking. Most people try several times before they are able to quit for good. The good news is it can be done. For more information on smoking, including tips and resources for quitting, visit NYC Quits.

Learn more about keeping your heart healthy.

More Blood Pressure Information