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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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High Blood Pressure in African-Americans

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Do You Have High Blood Pressure?

Your doctor can easily measure blood pressure. A blood pressure reading includes two numbers, one written on top of the other.

The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat.

  • 119 or below is the normal systolic blood pressure.
  • 120-139 is prehypertension.
  • 140 and greater is high blood pressure for people younger than 60.
  • 150 is high blood pressure for people aged 60 and over.

The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting.

  • 79 or below is normal diastolic blood pressure.
  • 80-89 is prehypertension.
  • 90 and greater is high blood pressure.

Blood pressure changes throughout the day, depending on your activities. Blood pressure changes over time, as well. Systolic blood pressure tends to rise as you get older. Diastolic blood pressure may decrease as you get older.

If either of your blood pressure readings is consistently above normal, then take action right away. Work with your doctor to develop a plan to treat high blood pressure before damage to your organs occurs.

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