pressure is stealthy because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. The need to
know your numbers is immediate because if your blood pressure is too high, you
will need treatment to prevent damage to your heart, brain, kidneys and other
MUPD campaign spokesperson, Dr. Richard Morel, says, “If a
patient’s blood pressure is normal, he/she can work with his/her healthcare
team to keep it that way. If it’s too high, we can treat it to prevent serious
health problems. And with self-care—including regular exercise or dietary
changes as needed—patients
can participate actively to control their blood pressure and protect their
Your blood pressure is made up of two
numbers, like a fraction. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (abbreviated
as mmHg). Both numbers are important in determining whether your blood pressure
is normal or high. The top number (known as systolic) represents the pressure
in your blood vessels when your heart beats, while the bottom number
(diastolic) represents the pressure in your vessels as your heart rests between
for Taking Your Blood Pressure:
have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and your doctor has advised you to
monitor it, you can purchase manual and electronic blood pressure cuffs in
stores or online. To ensure an accurate reading when you take your blood
pressure, follow these tips:
not talk or eat during the check.
caffeine and smoking 30 minutes before blood pressure reading.
with your back supported and with both feet flat on the floor.
a short-sleeved top or roll up your sleeve so the blood pressure cuff fits
on your bare arm.
that certain factors may temporarily affect your blood pressure reading,
including stress, cold temperatures, exercise, and certain medications.
Write down your BP numbers by date to compare later with future
readings and discuss with your doctor.
The American Heart Association
even has a
called Heart360 to help you track your heart health
providing quality care and empowering patients, together we can save lives and
enhance the quality of life for those living with high blood pressure and
related chronic diseases,” Dr. Morel says.