A silent killer, high blood pressure can contribute to strokes and other heart conditions without any obvious symptoms. That's why it's important to check your blood pressure regularly and keep your blood pressure within normal range.
A sphygmomanometer, a device used to measure blood pressure, measures two levels when checking blood pressure: systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic represents the upper number and diastolic represents the lower.
Normal Blood Pressure
The normal systolic blood pressure for an adult is below 120 mmHg. The normal diastolic blood pressure is below 80 mmHg.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, occurs when your blood pressure drops below 90 mmHg (systolic) over 60 mmHg (diastolic). Without any symptoms, hypotension presents no problems. If dizziness or fainting develops, medical attention may be necessary.
In 2003, the National Institutes of Health lowered the threshold for normal blood pressure from 130 mmHg (systolic) over 85 mmHg (diastolic). They created a new category called prehypertension. Adults with blood pressure from 120 to 139 systolic and 80 to 89 diastolic fall into this category.
Measurement Over Time
One higher-than-normal blood pressure reading does not mean you have hypertension.
If you fall into a category that's higher than normal, lifestyle changes may lower blood pressure. Reducing alcohol consumption and increasing exercise are two of your options.
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