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What is Blood Pressure?

May 1

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the pressure on blood vessel walls as blood moves through the body. Blood pressure is very important and normal; in fact, it’s blood pressure that keeps our blood moving at all!

Doctors calculate blood pressure using two measurements: the amount of pressure present when your heart beats (systolic) and the amount of pressure present when your heart rests (diastolic)—that’s why you often hear your blood pressure referred to as “120 over 70,” for example. So basically, blood pressure is a measurement of how much pressure is present with each heartbeat.

Generally, a healthy blood pressure is anything under 120/80.

What is high blood pressure and what causes it?

Above normal blood pressure is generally anything over 120/80. A number of factors can cause high blood pressure, including diet, lifestyle habits (such as smoking), and other health conditions (such as obesity or diabetes).

How does high blood pressure affect your health and risk for diseases?

Blood pressure - risk and prevention: High blood pressure puts additional strain on blood vessels. Excess pressure can seriously damage blood vessels and make them less flexible, causing the heart to pump blood less effectively throughout the body. Blood vessel damage can lead to heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and more. Heart disease and stroke, specifically, are two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.