Understanding Your Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure
What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure consists of two number; a top and bottom number. The top number is the systolic pressure. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure.



Systolic blood pressure is the force of blood in your arteries as your heart beats. If your systolic number is higher than one hundred and forty you have high blood pressure. Even if your diastolic number is not high you can still have 'isolated systolic hypertension.' This means only your systolic number is high.

This is more common for older Americans. This pressure usually increases with age whereas diastolic pressure decreases after fifty-five. You might not know if you have isolated systolic hypertension so ask your doctor if you are concerned.

Diastolic blood pressure is the force of blood in your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats. For younger people this is a very important number. The higher this pressure is the more you are at risk. This blood pressure lowers as you get older and your systolic increases. Therefore diastolic is more important in younger people and systolic in older.

Normal blood pressure is less than one hundred and twenty over less than eighty. If your pressure is between the normal numbers and one hundred and thirty-nine over eighty-nine, you have what is called prehypertension. This puts you at risk to develop high blood pressure in the future but it easily preventable.

Hypertension is a name for high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease or even strokes. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should and can lead to blindness, kidney disease and even congestive heart failure.
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