Test Your Blood Pressure IQ

Test Your Blood Pressure IQ

Answer these questions and see how well you do:

  1. Blood pressure changes throughout the day. It…
    1. is highest while you sleep.

    2. rises when you awaken.

    3. is lower when you take a bath.

  2. Blood pressure is measured in an upper number and lower number. These are called…
    1. systolic and diastolic.

    2. numerator and denominator.

    3. a ratio.

  3. A blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered…
    1. pre-hypertension.

    2. normal.

    3. too low.

  4. If not treated, high blood pressure can lead to…
    1. stroke.

    2. kidney failure.

    3. heart attack and heart failure.

    4. all of the above.

  1. Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but your chances are greater if you…
    1. are overweight or obese.

    2. are underweight.

    3. are under the age of 45.

  2. Why does reducing your salt intake help prevent high blood pressure?
    1. It reduces fluid buildup in the body

    2. It allows vessels to relax

    3. It helps lower your heart rate

  3. What can you do to control high blood pressure?
    1. Get to and stay at a healthy weight

    2. Exercise regularly

    3. Take the blood pressure medicine as directed by your doctor

    4. All of the above

Blood Pressure Quiz Answers

How well did you do?

1. B is the correct answer. Your blood pressure is lowest when you are sleeping and rises when you awaken.

2. A is the correct answer. Blood pressure is always given as two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Both are important. Usually they are written one above or before the other—for example, 120/80 mmHg. The top, or first number is the systolic and the bottom, or second number, is the diastolic. If your blood pressure is 120/80, you say that it is "120 over 80."

3. B is the correct answer. A blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered normal. In general, lower is better. However, very low blood pressure can sometimes be a cause for concern and should be checked out by a doctor.

4. D is the correct answer. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to stroke, kidney failure, heart attack and heart failure.

5. A is the correct answer. Anyone can develop high blood pressure. But your chances of getting high blood pressure are higher if you are overweight or obese.

6. A is the correct answer. Sodium in table salt causes fluid retention, which can increase your blood pressure.

7. D is the correct answer. Making lifestyle changes that include these actions can prevent and improve high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Basics

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults are living with high blood pressure. Many don't even know they have it. High blood pressure, often known as hypertension, doesn’t usually show warning signs or symptoms, which is why it has been called the “silent killer". This makes it necessary for everyone to get their blood pressure checked on a regular basis for good health.

High blood pressure can increase the risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke. The good news is that if high blood pressure is caught early enough, people can often manage it through lifestyle changes and medication.

Want to keep track of your own blood pressure?  Use this handy, Blood Pressure Tracker sheet.

Know The Essentials

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. It is measured using two numbers known as systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Hypertension means the pressure in your blood vessels is higher than it should be.

In 2017, the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association offered new guidelines for high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is now considered less than 120 systolic (top number) and a diastolic (lower number) less than 80; elevated blood pressure is 120-129 systolic and a diastolic less than 80; high blood pressure is a systolic of 130-139 or with a diastolic of 80-89.

Heart-Healthy Habits 

The best way to prevent high blood pressure is through a healthy lifestyle. Consider the following steps:

  • Eat a nutritious diet.

    This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, and foods low in salt and high in potassium. Talk with your doctor about the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

  • Keep a healthy weight.

    Being overweight increases the risk of high blood pressure; ask your physician about calculating your BMI (body mass index) if your weight is not in a healthy range.

  • Get enough physical activity.

    Adults should get two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity every day.

  • Don’t smoke.

    Cigarette smoking raises blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. If you smoke, there are many resources to help you quit. For more information, visit mywha.org/quit.

  • Limit alcohol use.

    Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure. Experts say that men shouldn’t drink more than two drinks per day, and women shouldn’t have more than one.

Last review date: February 13, 2023