Know Your Blood Pressure Levels

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Blood Pressure Webinar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

If you’re unaware of your blood pressure levels, you put yourself at great risk.  That’s because uncontrolled high blood pressure (or hypertension) is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Often, there are no symptoms to alert you of the need to better control high blood pressure, which is why hypertension is called the “silent killer.” You may not know you have it unless you have your blood pressure levels checked regularly.

Your blood pressure levels reflect how hard your heart has to work to pump adequate blood through your arteries. Each contraction of your heart pumps out a wave of oxygen-rich blood that causes the flexible arterial walls to expand. After the wave passes, the walls deflate. The intensity of this sequence is your blood pressure.

The first number is your systolic reading (the pressure of the blood against arterial walls at the wave’s peak), and the second number is the diastolic reading (the pressure when the wave passes).

Years ago, we thought a reading of 140/88 was the upper limit of normal. These days, a reading that high is unacceptable. Research shows that you want your systolic pressure to be in the 120s and your diastolic pressure to be in the high 70s or low 80s.

For more information on blood pressure levels or healthy blood pressure, visit Dr. Sinatra's Web site.
 

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