SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Summer is usually accompanied by family barbecues and picnics outside.

But those burgers and chips may be wreaking havoc on your blood pressure.

1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure according to the CDC, and only about half of them have their blood pressure under control.

“It is one of the biggest health-geared challenges that we have. It is very prevalent across the board. It is more prevalent in blacks,” Dr. Naveen Rajpurohit said.

Dr. Naveen Rajpurohit says about half of the patients seen at the Sanford Cardiology Clinic have high blood pressure.

But making sure your numbers are correctly measured is crucial. He says some patients experience what’s called white-coat hypertension, where their blood pressure rises due to emotions of being at the doctors office, giving incorrect readings.

Doctors say if you do struggle with high blood pressure, measuring it at home can help you get correct readings.

Rajpurohit says high blood pressure can affect nearly every organ in your body, leading to health issues such as a stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.

The most common causes are genetic predisposition and environmental factors, but luckily, he says there are options when it comes to lowering it.

“There are many things that patients can do before they get put on medications. First and foremost is weight loss. Patients who are overweight, they’re going to have higher blood pressures,” Rajpurohit said.

Registered dietitian Tiffany Krogstad says one way to get your weight under control is getting 150 minutes of exercise per week.
But your diet also plays a big role.

“There is a diet out there, it’s called the DASH diet. Dietary approaches to stopping hypertension, which includes whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, limiting things that are high in saturated fat, added sugars, processed foods, that kind of thing,” Krogstad said.

Aside from the DASH diet, Krogstad says limiting your sodium can make a big difference.

“Sodium is going to be key. Typically when I speak with patients about lowering their sodium intake I recommend no more than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day,” Krogstad said.

In addition to changing your lifestyle she says limiting alcohol and quitting smoking is important.

Current guidelines say stage 1 high blood pressure is a systolic number between 130 and 139, or diastolic between 80 and 89.

If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, call your doctor.