What Is Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. But if it stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and lead to health problems.

Understanding your blood pressure number is critical to your overall health. If your blood pressure is high, you are at a great risk for a heart attack and stroke and if left undetected, can lead to other health issues such as heart failure, kidney disease or failure and vision loss. As there are often no obvious symptoms, it is best to have your blood pressure checked regularly and adjust your lifestyle to lower it, should it come back high.

Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean:

Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.

  • Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

The chart below provides a normal – hypertensive crisis blood pressure readings.

Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
Blood Pressure Reading Chart

Blood Pressure Monitoring

Our pharmacies offer free blood pressure checks using automated kiosks that allow you to track your blood pressure history and report it to your health care professional. We encourage you to talk with our pharmacists about your blood pressure readings. Our pharmacists can also assess your risk for heart disease and provide you with valuable information to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Steps to lower your blood pressure

There are lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your blood pressure numbers.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Maintain healthy eating habits, including fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, low-fat options and heart healthy grains
  3. Reduce sodium intake
  4. Exercise more
  5. Limit alcohol intake

For help on lowering your blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association here.

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