How Is High Blood Pressure Measured?


High Blood Pressure

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My MedlinePlus

January 16, 2019

blood pressure cuff

MedlinePlus Newsletter Special Report: High Blood Pressure and You

High Blood Pressure Facts from the CDC:

  • Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
  • About 75 million American adults (32%) have high blood pressure, that’s 1 in every 3 adults.
  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension, blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
  • Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

Learn more about what you can do to prevent or treat high blood pressure.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood to your body. Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.

How Is High Blood Pressure Measured?

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body. Normal blood pressure is when the top number (systolic blood pressure) is below 120 most of the time, and the bottom number (diastolic blood pressure) is below 80 most of the time (written as 120/80 mm Hg).

Learn How to Control Your Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are things you can do to control it. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes and medications all can help lower your blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure Medications

There are life-saving medicines people can take every day to help control their high blood pressure. People who eat healthy foods, exercise, and take their medicines every day can control their blood pressure.

A Healthy Eating Plan for High Blood Pressure

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is an eating plan that is based on research studies sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). These studies showed that DASH lowers high blood pressure and improves levels of cholesterol.