What is high blood pressure?
According to the American Heart Association, High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high.
What’s the best way to diagnose HBP?
The best way to diagnose high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is to have your blood pressure measured.
How a blood pressure test works
- A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer).
- During the test, the cuff is placed around the upper arm before being manually or electronically inflated.
- Once inflated, the cuff compresses the brachial artery, momentarily stopping blood flow.
- Next, air in the cuff is slowly released while the person performing the measurement listens with a stethoscope or monitors an electronic readout
Your blood pressure reading is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure (the top number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
- Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
If You Are Living with High Blood Pressure
- Regularly check your BP at home or with your doctor, pharmacy or fitness center, and set goals with your doctor to get it to a healthy range.
- Calculate your health risks from high BP and see how some simple changes can lower your score
Take Control of Your Health
Sign up for a Healthier Living Class or visit The American Heart Association website for more information.