Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood.

This is called systolic pressure. Between beats, when your heart is at rest, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading has two numbers. The systolic (top number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic (bottom number) is the force when your heart relaxes between beats.

Healthy adults should have a systolic blood pressure below 120. The diastolic should be below 80. These are general guidelines. Check with your doctor to see what numbers are best for you.

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.

About 70 million American adults—one in every three adults—have high blood pressure.3 High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so many people do not know they have it.

You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That’s why it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

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