MONTCLAIR, NJ - The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have designated May as National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month because about one of every three adults nationwide have that dangerous condition yet many are unaware due to a lack of warning signs and symptoms.

“Although high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is linked to stroke, heart disease and other serious illnesses when left uncontrolled, it can usually be well managed with lifestyle adjustments, careful monitoring and medication if needed,” said Dr. Raghav Rastogi, board-certified in internal medicine with the Mountainside Medical Group, a practice operated by HackensackUMC Mountainside with locations throughout the hospital’s suburban Essex and neighboring Passaic County service area.

“Prevention and early intervention are crucial to ensuring that high blood pressure doesn’t live up to its reputation as a silent killer. That includes maintaining a healthy body weight and a smoke-free lifestyle with regular exercise, as well as taking advantage of community blood pressure screenings and annual wellness physicals with a primary care physician,” he said.

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Blood Pressure by the Numbers

Blood is constantly flowing through the human body and the term blood pressure refers to the force that process creates against artery walls.  Although everyone’s blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, when it constantly remains above an accepted level, it contributes to the risk of potentially deadly illnesses.

Blood pressure is measured by two numerical readings using millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The two measures are systolic pressure which captures rates when the heart beats and diastolic pressure that captures rates when the heart rests between beats. The following standard guidelines apply:

·       A systolic pressure rate of 120 or less and diastolic pressure of 80 or less is considered normal.

·       Systolic pressure of 120-139 and diastolic pressure of 80-90 is associated with prehypertension.

·       Hypertension is diagnosed when there is a constant systolic rate of 140 or greater and a diastolic rate of 90 or greater.

Additionally, while men and women are statistically at equal risk of having high blood pressure, African Americans have higher rates than Caucasians. In fact, African American men are at significantly greater risk.

Beneficial Lifestyle Changes

Experts unanimously agree on these prevention and early intervention actions:

·       Maintain a low salt (sodium) diet with limited intake of both table salt and hidden sodium found in packaged and prepared foods.

·       Eat a diet high in potassium rich foods such as fish and green, leafy vegetables.

·       Limit consumption of alcohol.

·       Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI) and lose weight if overweight.

·       Refrain from or quit smoking.

·       Exercise for 30 minutes or more several times per week. 

·       If you’ve been diagnosed with prehypertension or high blood pressure, track your own numbers with an affordable, easy to use self-monitoring device. 

“The best way to approach maintaining healthy blood pressure levels is to have an ongoing relationship with a primary care doctor who can answer your questions, provide personalized advice and monitor your overall health and wellness,” said Dr. Rastogi, a graduate of Kasturba Medical College who completed his residency at Englewood Hospital/Mount Sinai Medical Center and has been awarded board certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine.  He is experienced in providing primary care and managing patients with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease, back pain and many other chronic conditions.  

Dr. Rastogi is one of a team of accomplished Mountainside Medical Group physicians with a network of offices throughout suburban Essex and nearby Passaic County. For further information or an appointment, call 973-748-0678.

About Mountainside Medical Group

The Mountainside Medical Group is a network of primary care physicians specializing in internal medicine, family medicine and endocrinology created by HackensackUMC Mountainside and a member of Hackensack University Health Network.  We believe people who establish a personal relationship with their primary doctor experience better health and quality of life. Start well and stay well with Mountainside Medical Group. Offices are located in Bloomfield, Caldwell, Glen Ridge, Nutley and Woodland Park. For more information,