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Understanding Blood Pressure Reading




Blood pressure is one of the key vital signs that doctors monitor to assess your health. But what do those blood pressure numbers really mean? This article will help you understand blood pressure readings.


What is Blood Pressure?


Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps. High pressure over time can damage vessels and lead to problems like heart attack or stroke.


Blood Pressure Numbers


Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers, like 110/75 mm Hg. The top number is systolic pressure, which measures pressure in vessels when the heart beats. The bottom number is diastolic pressure, measuring pressure between heartbeats.


Normal Blood Pressure Range


Normal blood pressure is considered lower than 120/80 mm Hg. Elevated ranges from 120-129 systolic AND under 80 diastolic. High blood pressure is 130/80 or above.


Here are normal and high ranges:


Normal: Less than 120/80

Elevated: 120-129/Under 80

Stage 1 High: 130-139/80-89

Stage 2 High: 140/90 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis: Over 180/Over 120


As you can see, higher numbers indicate higher blood pressure.


Monitoring Your Blood Pressure


Doctors recommend regular blood pressure checks at annual exams to screen for problems and monitor any treatments. You may need to check more often if your levels are elevated or if you have issues like diabetes or heart disease.


When checking at home, take readings at the same time of day to get accurate comparisons. Make sure to sit quietly for 5 minutes beforehand and keep your arm supported at heart level.


Lowering High Blood Pressure


If lifestyle changes like losing weight, reducing sodium, exercising, or managing stress don't lower high blood pressure, medications may be prescribed. It's important to work with your doctor and follow treatment plans.


High blood pressure often has no symptoms, which makes monitoring numbers very important. Understanding your readings and keeping blood pressure in a healthy range reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other complications.

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