When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The only way to tell is to have your BP checked which can be done at the doctors office, a pharmacy, some gyms have BP machines in them, a health fair, or someone you know that is a healthcare professional. You can also purchase a Blood Pressure kit from a local pharmacy and check your BP at home.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) is to have your blood pressure tested. Under-standing your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. A diagnosis of High BP or Hypertension must come from a medical professional and will need to be monitored.
Blood pressure categories: The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Consistent readings from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
3-Hypertension Stage 1
Consistent readings in the range of 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic.
4-Hypertension Stage 2
Consistent readings of 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. Readings that exceed 180/120 mm Hg.
You and your medical provider will discuss what treatment plan is best for you. Treatment can consist of medications to help control your BP as well as lifestyle changes. If you have high BP you should avoid salty foods. Your physician may ask you to exercise and try to avoid stress. If you smoke it may be advised that you quit. If you have any questions about your medications speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
American Heart Association – Check, Change, Control Calculator Tool
American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Information page.