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High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure is when the blood pressure in your arteries is elevated and your heart has to work harder than normal to pump blood through the blood vessels. It is important that you have your blood pressure checked regularly by your healthcare provider. Read on to learn about blood pressure and how it can be managed.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure or force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (known as arteries). Your blood pressure reading is based on two measures called systolic and diastolic. The systolic (top) number is the measure of the pressure force when your heart contracts and pushes out the blood. The diastolic (bottom) number is the measure of when your heart relaxes between beats.

The table below defines varying blood pressure categories: low risk, medium risk, high risk. See your doctor or healthcare provider to get a proper blood pressure measurement.

BLOOD PRESSURE CATEGORIES

Category

Systolic / Diastolic

Low risk

120 / 80

Medium risk

121-139 / 80-89

High risk

140+ / 90

There are some exceptions to these categories.

If you have diabetes, the high risk category for your blood pressure is slightly lower. Your blood pressure should be less than 130 / 80. Consult a healthcare provider if your blood pressure level is higher than 130 / 80 on more than one occasion.

Generally speaking, systolic blood pressure should be less than 150 for people over 80 years of age. But your healthcare provider will consider your overall health and medical conditions before deciding on the right blood pressure level for you.

LOW BLOOD PRESSURE
Low blood pressure is when the pressure in your arteries drops and your heart is pumping your blood at a slower rate than normal through your blood vessels. Blood pressure levels below 120 / 80 may be considered normal unless you feel light-headed or dizzy. Your healthcare provider can help you determine if you have low blood pressure.

Source: www.heartandstroke.com
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