Blood Pressure Facts

What is high blood pressure?

  • Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing outwards on your artery walls.
  • It's written as two numbers, for example: 112/78 mm Hg. 
  • High Blood Pressuremeans the pressure in your arteries is elevated.
  • The top number is the pressure when the heart beats.
  • The bottom number is the pressure when the heart rests between beats. 

Why does it matter?

  • High blood pressure increases the risk of having a heart attack, kidney disease, heart   failure, or stroke.
  • Almost one-third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure.
  • Every day, about 1,000 people in the U.S. die as a result of high blood pressure.

You’ve got the power! What can you do?

  • Know your numbers, get your blood pressure checked:
    • If you have normal blood pressure (top number less than 120 and bottom number less than 80), then you should get checked at least every two years.
    • If you are pre-hypertensive (top number between 120 -139 and bottom number between 80 -90), then you should get screened each year.
    • Local pharmacies often have free blood pressure machines or ask your doctor! They usually check your blood pressure at every visit.
    • It’s a good idea to track your blood pressure readings, keep this handy blood pressure tracker in your wallet so that you can always keep track of your readings. Get your PRINTABLE BLOOD PRESSURE TRACKER here.
  • Leave the salt at the door:
    • You don’t need to cook with salt to have flavor. Instead of adding salt to foods while you cook, let your loved ones add salt and other seasons as needed to their own foods. This can prevent over-salting items.
    • Cook with herbs. Herbs like rosemary and thyme are packed with flavor without the sodium. For even more fun, grow your own herbs in your garden.
    • Shop the rainbow. When you shopping, buy foods from the outside border of the store. These foods are usually less-processed and healthier. For instance, you can buy fruits, veggies, non-fat or low-fat milk, yogurt, whole grain bread, fresh fish all without going down a center aisle. 
  • Get moving:
    • You should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, spread out over several days. Even ten-minute bouts count!
    • Add a mixture of exercise to your routine so that you don’t get bored. Brisk walking, gardening, tennis, swimming, and dancing are all options.
    • Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. 
  • Manage your stress:
    • Set aside time for the things you enjoy, whether they be a bath, yoga, or listening to music. 
  • Don’t smoke:
    • If you do not already smoke, do not start.
    • If you are a smoker, talk with your doctor about ways to quit.

We’re here for you!

  • Questions related to nutrition, exercise or stress management?
  • TEHW’s Wellness Program Manager is here for you. Contact Nichole Weaver today!
  • Email:
  • Cell Phone: 202-679-9887



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How does the Spousal Credit work?

The 2012 collective bargaining agreement permits employees to receive a credit of up to $1,200 if their spouse opts out of the Transit Employees’ Health & Welfare Plan’s health insurance program. It can only be used as a credit against medical and dental benefit expenses incurred as a Participant in the Plan. You must elect the spousal credit option each year.

Up to $100 per month will be applied to reduce the cost of your medical and dental insurance. It cannot be applied to reduce the cost of any supplemental life insurance you may have elected or of any other voluntary benefit.


Your plan requires a monthly contribution of $80 toward single coverage and $208 toward family coverage. Here is how the credit will work:

  • For a family with only employee and spouse coverage, the spousal credit would change your plan from family to single (from $208 to $80) and the credit would further reduce the monthly contribution for single coverage ($80) to zero.
  • For a family with employee, spouse and children coverage, the spousal credit would not change your family plan coverage ($208), but it would reduce the $208 amount you pay to $108 (the maximum credit of $100 per month).

This credit is available to employees and retirees, but cannot be combined with the employee opt-out payment. This credit is available only if the employee or retiree remains covered in the Transit Employees Health and Welfare program.

You can only elect the spousal credit option during the annual open enrollment period, usually in November of each year. It will be effective for your premiums for the following January 1st. Download the Spousal Credit form here.

If you have more questions, please contact the Health and Welfare Plan Office.

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