What is Blood Pressure?

Your heart circulates blood throughout your body by pumping blood.  This pumping action applies pressure to your artery walls. When blood pressure is too high, called Hypertension, your heart has to work harder and can strain your arteries and other organs. If blood pressure is not controlled over time it can cause heart failure, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and damage to your vision and eyes.

What do my Blood Pressure numbers mean? 

When your blood pressure is measured, there are two numbers:

  1. Systolic (top number): the pressure against the artery wall when the heart pumps
  2. Diastolic (bottom number): the pressure against the artery when the heart relaxes
Blood Pressure Chart*
Normal Blood Pressure Less than 120 / 80
Prehypertension 120-139 / 80-89
High Blood Pressure Greater than 140 / 90

My Action Plan

Schedule an office visit with my doctor to check my blood pressure: 

  • Today
  • In 1 – 2 weeks
  • In 2 – 4 weeks
  • Every 6 – 12 months

Always follow your doctor’s recommendations and see your doctor sooner if needed.

Things I can do to prevent or control High Blood Pressure:

  • Know Your Numbers. Talk to your doctor about what your blood pressure goal should be, how often you should have your blood pressure checked, and how to prevent or control high blood pressure. You and your doctor are a team!
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active. Talk to your doctor about how much physical activity is right for you.
  • Follow a healthy eating plan. Choose foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, such as chicken or fish, and healthy grains. Avoid fried foods.
  • Reduce sodium (salt) in your diet.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor.

*Source: Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association