It turns out, what you don’t know could hurt you. Especially when it comes to high blood pressure. May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Take some steps this month to educate yourself about high blood pressure and the risks associated with it. To get you started, here are a few things you may not know about high blood pressure.

1. High blood pressure and dementia may be connected.

Recent studies show that high blood pressure may be linked to a higher risk for dementia. Some evidence shows that uncontrolled high blood pressure during midlife (ages 45-65) increases this risk. It’s never too early to start thinking about your blood pressure and learning ways to control it.

2. Young people can have high blood pressure, too.

About one in four men and one in five women ages 35-44 has high blood pressure. This can lead to an increased risk of stroke in young people. This condition is on the rise in this younger population due to increased obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, which can all be treated through simple lifestyle changes. Young people should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year.

3. If you have high blood pressure, you may not realize it.

Most people with high blood pressure do not have any symptoms. Because these people generally feel fine, they may not realize they are at risk for serious health issues such as heart attack or stroke. Even if you feel fine, talk with your doctor about your blood pressure.

Because many people with high blood pressure do not realize they have it, many people are not receiving the treatment they need. Speak with your doctor about your blood pressure numbers and what you can do to keep them within a healthy range.

Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy blood pressure:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Reduce stress
  • Reduce sodium intake

It’s important to speak with your doctor about your risks for high blood pressure. Educate yourself so you can educate your friends and family. Together, we can all maintain healthy blood pressure levels!