Curious about your health? Run the numbers with a little help from your doctor, of course.

Math and health care go hand-in-hand with measurements related to your blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol providing an overall picture of your health, according to BlueHealth Advantage.

By knowing your numbers and their potential impact, you and your doctor can monitor and take charge of your health status.

Learn more about your measurements by reading Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s (BCBSNE) know your numbers series, which begins here with blood pressure management.

Blood pressure 101

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries and is measured using two numbers:

  • Systolic – when blood pressure is highest as the heart beats.
  • Diastolic – when blood pressure is lowest as the heart rests.

Your health care provider gives your numbers as systolic over diastolic pressure.


The following chart examines blood pressure classifications:

Patients receive a high blood pressure diagnosis after repeated readings of 140/90 or higher. However, if a patient has diabetes or chronic kidney disease, they receive the diagnosis after readings of 130/80 or higher.


For many people, a specific cause for their diagnosis is not known. This is called essential or primary high blood pressure. When a cause, such as a medication, is known, a patient has secondary high blood pressure.

Your chances of having the condition increase if you:

  • Are overweight.
  • Are a man over 45 or a woman over 55.
  • Have a family history of the condition.
  • Have prehypertension.

Impact on health

People call the condition the silent killer because it often comes with no symptoms. When it’s not found and treated, it can cause:

  • The heart to grow larger, which can lead to heart failure.
  • Small bulges, or aneurysms, to form in blood vessels.
  • Blood vessels in the kidney to narrow, which may cause kidney failure.
  • Hardened arteries.
  • Blood vessels in the eye to burst or bleed, which can cause vision changes and result in blindness.

Prevention, treatment and control

Nearly one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. Once the condition develops, it usually lasts a lifetime. However, it can be prevented, controlled and treated.

Steps you can take to prevent the condition include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Staying physically active.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Limiting your salt intake.
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation.

Some people who have the condition can control it using the steps listed above. Unfortunately, lifestyle changes alone don’t work for everyone. In that case, your doctor will add medicine to your health plan.

Stay tuned to BCBSNE’s newsroom for additional know your numbers coverage.

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