Every time your heart beats, it creates pressure on the walls of your blood
vessels. If the force of this pumping is too high, over time it wears
out the arteries. Persistent high blood pressure is a risk factor for
Blood pressure measures the results of two forces:
- The force in the arteries as the blood pumps out of the heart, called systolic
pressure, should be 120 mmHg or less.
- The force in the arteries as the heart rests between beats, called diastolic
pressure, should be 80 mmHg or less.
Your blood pressure measurement is the
systolic rate over the
diastolic rate. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHG or lower.
If your blood pressure reading is higher than 180 (systolic) or 100 (diastolic),
take it again. If it's still this high, seek immediate medical treatment.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure often has few symptoms and you might
not feel anything is wrong. Check your blood pressure regularly so you
can spot—and treat—high blood pressure before it causes long-term damage.
High blood pressure can often lead to heart attack and heart failure, stroke,
kidney failure and other health consequences.
GOOD News: It’s never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes
to lower your blood pressure, such as quitting smoking, eating healthy
foods and becoming more active.
|BLOOD PRESSURE CATEGORY
SYSTOLIC mm Hg
DIASTOLIC mm Hg
||Less than 120
||Less than 80
||Less than 80
|High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1
|High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2
||140 or higher
||90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis (Call 911)
||Higher than 180
||Higher than 120
What can I do to improve my blood pressure?
||Maintain normal body weight
10 kg weight lost
|DASH eating plan
||Diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and reduced fat
|Restrict sodium intake
||< 2.4 grams of sodium per day
||Regular aerobic exercise at least 30 min. most days of week
||2 drinks/day for men and 1 drink/day for women
To learn more about the cardiac program at Mary Washington Healthcare, visit