Blood Pressure

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Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure, which is about 75 million adults in our country.

Having high blood pressure puts a person at high risk for stroke and heart disease which are leading causes of death in the United States.

High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year.  This total includes the cost of health care services, medication to treat high blood pressure and missed days of work.

Only about half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow inside your blood vessels.  Your doctor records your blood pressure as two numbers, such as 120/80, which you may hear them say as 120 over 80.  Both numbers are important!

The first number is the pressure as your heart beats and pushes blood through the blood vessels.  This is called the “systolic” pressure.  The second number is the pressure when the vessels relax between heartbeats. It’s called the “diastolic” pressure.

Here is what the numbers mean:

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80
Early high blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90
High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher

According to the American Diabetes Association, ‘The lower your blood pressure, the better your chances of delaying or preventing a heart attach or a stroke.”    High blood pressure raises your risk for heart attack, stroke, eye problems and kidney disease.”

You should always have and idea of what your blood pressure is, just as you know your height and weight.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” and usually has no warning signs or symptoms.  Many people do not realize they have it.  That is why our free health screenings are so important for individuals that do not see their dr. regularly.  Measuring blood pressure is quick and painless and can lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.  Knowledge of your numbers gives you power over your own health!

What are the risk factors of high blood pressure?

  • Smoking tobacco
  • Eating foods high in sodium and low in potassium
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • Being Obese
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Having diabetes
  • Family genetics

What can you do about high blood pressure?

  • Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure numbers to find a treatment plan that is right for you. Medication may be the only option at first to get blood pressure under control.
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure.  To determine if your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your BMI or body mass index.  (
  • Physical Activity: The Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week.
  • Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Eat whole grain breads and cereals instead of white breads.
  • Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid high blood pressure. Try herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor your foods.
  • Check food labels and choose foods with less than 400mg of sodium per serving.
  • Limit alcohol: Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day and women only 1.  For more information, visit CDC’s Alcohol and Public Health Web site.
  • If you smoke, get help to quit.
  • Prevent or treat diabetes.

The information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  All content, including text, graphics, images and information contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.

CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Diabetes Association

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