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Prevention and Wellness

More people die from heart disease than all cancers combined. Yet most people don't even know they are at risk.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is called the silent killer because most people don't know they have it. Left untreated, hypertension can damage the arteries, heart and kidneys, and act as a precursor to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and stroke. Fortunately, hypertension is treatable and blood pressure screening is the first step toward diagnosing a problem.

Blood pressure is always expressed in two numbers, which are measurements of millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The higher number, called systolic pressure, is your blood pressure when your heart beats. The lower number, known as diastolic pressure, is your blood pressure when your heart rests. The readings are stated as systolic over diastolic pressure, such as 120/80 - systolic/diastolic.

Use the following chart to determine if your blood pressure is within the normal range. You can control your risk for high blood pressure by exercising, controlling your diet and salt intake, avoiding alcohol and managing stress.

 

Level Systolic Diastolic
High Blood Pressure >140 >90
Prehypertension 120 to 139 80 to 89
Normal (Age 18 or Older) < 119 < 79

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