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The Basics on Blood Pressure

What is blood pressure?

When the heart pumps, it creates pressure to push blood through the vessels. The force of that blood creates pressure on the walls of the vessels causing a "whooshing" sound. This is what doctors listen for when taking blood pressure. Depending on your activity, blood pressure changes or fluctuates throughout the day.

What is considered normal or high blood pressure?

It's always important to discuss with your doctor what blood pressure level is best for you. The American Heart Association recommends:

  • Less than 120/80 is normal blood pressure
  • 140/90 or above is high blood pressure
  • Between 120 and 139 for the top number and between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is prehypertension

Where do I go to get my blood pressure checked?

A blood pressure monitor is a good idea to have on hand when you have been diagnosed with hypertension. If you don't have a blood pressure monitor at home, blood pressure stations can be found within most stores that have a pharmacy department such as CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens.

For more information on blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association.


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Last review date: February 23, 2017