Management of all heart conditions & related problems
Coronary Artery Disease
Vascular Heart Diseases
Heart Attack
High Cholesterol Levels
Congestive Heart Failure
Chest Pain
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

What is blood pressure?

With each beat of the heart, blood is pumped out of the heart into the blood vessels, which carry your blood throughout your body. Your blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure or force inside your arteries with each heartbeat.

How is blood pressure measured?

A doctor or nurse can listen to your blood pressure by placing a stethoscope on your artery and pumping up a cuff placed around your arm. The blood pressure is read on a special meter. It is recorded as two numbers:

Systolic blood pressure – the first number; the amount of pressure against the artery walls each time the heart contracts or squeezes blood out of your heart.

Diastolic blood pressure – the second number; the amount of pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest, in between heartbeats.

Your blood pressure recording is not always the same. When you are exercising or excited, your blood pressure goes up. If you are at rest, your blood pressure will be lower. This is a normal response to changes in activity or emotion. Age, medications, and changes in position can also affect blood pressure.

What is a normal blood pressure reading?

To decrease the risk of cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, normal blood pressure, for those not taking blood pressure medications, should be less than 120/80.

What is high blood pressure (Hypertension)?

High blood pressure is also called hypertension.

Why do I need to treat high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease. If untreated, it can lead to:

Heart attack
Heart enlargement
Heart failure
Kidney disease

Are you at risk for getting high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is more common in:

People with family members who have a history of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or diabetes
People 60 years and older
Women who take oral contraceptives
People who are overweight

What should you do if you have high blood pressure?

The goal of therapy is to lower your blood pressure to less than 120/80. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the goal is less than 130/80. If you have high blood pressure:

Eat a diet low in sodium (salt) and fat
Maintain your ideal body weight
Quit smoking
Follow a regular exercise program
Limit alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day
Take your blood pressure medications as directed
Have regular blood pressure checks to see your progress.
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