MinuteClinic on Health: Controlling High Blood Pressure

Having elevated blood pressure puts an extra strain on your arteries, raising your risk of stroke or heart attack. MinuteClinic family nurse practitioner Meredith Dixon explains why understanding your numbers and having your blood pressure checked on a regular basis is important.

High Blood Pressure – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

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Allergy (also called: Hypertension)

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Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually the systolic number comes before or above the diastolic number. A reading of

119/79 or lower is normal blood pressure
140/90 or higher is high blood pressure
Between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is called prehypertension. Prehypertension means you may end up with high blood pressure, unless you take steps to prevent it.

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.

You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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