The lowdown on high blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of the flowing blood against the walls of the arteries. It’s measured in two numbers …for example, ’140/90.’ The first number (140) is systolic pressure, the pressure when the heart contracts and pumps the blood through the body. The lower number (90) is diastolic pressure, the pressure between pumps, when the heart is resting.

120/80 is considered normal. You have high blood pressure (hypertension) if your blood- pressure reading is equal to or greater than 140/90 for extended periods of time. Elevated blood pressure means your heart is working harder than normal, putting both your heart and arteries under a greater strain.

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