What's your blood pressure?

High blood pressure often shows no symptoms. You can have high blood pressure for years and never know it. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Your doctor is able to check your blood pressure at each visit.

How is blood pressure checked?

A cuff is placed on your upper arm. The cuff will be inflated with air and then the air will be released.

The two numbers recorded are the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the top number that measures the blood flow when the hearts beats, this is the noise that is first heard in the stethoscope. The diastolic numbers is the pressure between the heartbeats. This is the bottom number recorded when the last noise is heard.

What should my blood pressure be?

Category Systolic number Diastolic number
Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80
Prehypertension 120-139 or 80-89
High blood pressure
Stage 1 140-159 or 90-99
Stage 2 160 or higher or 100 or higher

How can high blood pressure hurt me?

High blood pressure can cause many harmful effects to your body including:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack and heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Aneurysms
  • Vision changes or blindness

What should I do if I have high blood pressure?

Talk to your doctor to determine your best course of action. Some lifestyle changes you can make on your own are:

  • If you smoke, quit
  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise
  • Talk to your doctor about the DASH diet.

Visit your health care provider to have your blood pressure checked.