We get it taken when we go to the doctor, we hear about it all of the time. What does it mean? Is the top number more important than the bottom? What should it be?
Your blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say "120 over 80" or write "120/80 mmHg."
High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be. But you can take steps to control your blood pressure and lower your risk.
High blood pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don’t know they have it. That’s why it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly. The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure or to control it if your blood pressure is already high.
Simple steps can help you prevent high blood pressure:
- Eating a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active
- Don't smoke
- Limit alcohol use
- Check your blood pressure regularly