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How to Read Your Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Reading Content Image Full Width

When you visit your doctor, you may have your blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. One in three American adults has high blood pressure, or hypertension.

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Your blood pressure is written as two numbers. The top number, or systolic, shows the force of blood in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, or diastolic, shows the force of blood when your heart rests.

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (top #) Diastolic (bottom #)
Normal less than 120 less than 80
Prehypertension 120-129 less than 80
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) 130 or higher 80 or higher

If your reading is 130 over 80 or higher, you may have high blood pressure. This can put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. If your numbers are above the normal range, talk with your doctor about a treatment plan.

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