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Getting to the Heart of the Matter

Heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women. February is Heart Health awareness month, a time to get your checkups and make small changes to your lifestyle to prevent Heart disease. It is very important to know your family history, your own health numbers, and the risk factors that you can and cannot control.

Risk Factors You Can Control:

  • Lack of Physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet, high in salt & cholesterol
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much Alcohol
  • Overweight and Obesity
  • Sleep Apnea

Risk Factors Outside Your Control:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race


High blood pressure, also called Hypertension, is the “silent killer” because you do not always have warning signs. One thing that we commonly have done on is blood pressure checks. This is something you can do at home or at your local pharmacies just to keep a check on yourself. It is important to know what those numbers mean and when you should be alarmed. So what is normal?

Blood Pressure Category Top Number SYSTOLIC Bottom Number DIASTOLIC
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89
Hypertension (stage 1) 140-159 90-99
Hypertension (stage 2) 160 or higher 100 or higher
Hypertensive crisis (911) Higher than 180 Higher than 110
  • 120 (the top number represents the pressure while the heart is beating)
  • 80   (the bottom number represents the pressure when the heart is resting between beats)

Feel free to contact Sheree Taylor at 256-499-7146 or snr0010@auburn.edu for an educational program in relation to the Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, & obesity in your community.