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Blood pressure is a measurement of how strongly your blood is pressing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart throughout your body. Your health care provider takes your blood pressure at each office visit. You can also take your own blood pressure at home with a blood pressure monitor.
A blood pressure reading consists of a higher number over a lower number. Ideally, your blood pressure should be below 120/80. The first ("top") number is called the systolic pressure. It is a measure of the pressure in your arteries as your heart beats. The second ("bottom") number is called the diastolic pressure. It is a measure of the pressure in your arteries as the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure is classified into four stages. The following are the stages for adults who do not have a short-term serious illness or a chronic condition. Systolic pressure and diastolic pressure are measured in a unit called mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).
Hypertension stage 1
Hypertension stage 2
You can have elevated blood pressure or hypertension even if only the systolic or only the diastolic number in your reading is higher than normal.
American Heart Association: www.heart.org
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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