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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure


How is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?

Getting your blood pressure reading is quick and easy! A health care provider uses a blood pressure cuff, which is wrapped around your upper arm and inflated. Doctors' offices, health clinics, even pharmacies can measure it for you.

A blood pressure reading is recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio, like 110/70. The first is the systolic number. It measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number is lower, and called the diastolic. It measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats, when the muscle is resting.

The American Heart Association recommends a healthy blood pressure reading as less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, less than 120/80. Your blood pressure level does not stay at one number all the time. It can rise for short periods for a number of ordinary reasons, if you are stressed or when you are feeling anxious or excited. But just as the numbers can be too high, if they are too low they can also be dangerous to your health.

High blood pressure, if not treated, can increase your risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Read more about the importance of blood pressure to your health.


Finding treatment and support for your health can seem overwhelming, but 211 can help! Search the Healthy Living community resources guide and community calendar to find support near you.