Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries. It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. But if it stays up over time, you have high blood pressure.
Two numbers tell you your blood pressure. The first number is the systolic pressure. It shows how hard the blood pushes when your heart is pumping. The second number is the diastolic pressure. It shows how hard the blood pushes between heartbeats, when your heart is relaxed and filling with blood. A normal blood pressure in adults is less than 130/85 (say "130 over 85"). High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. You have high blood pressure if your top number is 140 or higher or your bottom number is 90 or higher, or both.
The main test for high blood pressure is simple, fast, and painless. To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor will test your blood pressure at different times. You may have to check your blood pressure at home if there is reason to think that the results in the doctor's office aren't accurate.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to make a long-term plan to manage it.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: April 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
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