High blood pressure damages the inner lining of your blood vessels, causing them to become stiff and narrow. It’s often called the silent killer because it can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke without making you feel any different.
When you take your blood pressure, you’ll see two numbers. Both of them are important.
The top one is called the systolic blood pressure and it tells you the pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes and pumps blood to the rest of your body.
The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure and it tells you the pressure in your arteries when your heart is relaxed between heart beats.
A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. If the top number is between 120-129 then you have elevated blood pressure. But if the top number goes over 130 or the bottom number goes over 80, then you have high blood pressure. Also known as hypertension.
The Harvard Medical School shared tips on how to take your blood pressure properly at home. They recommend sitting comfortably with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor and your arm resting on a table or pillow at the level of your heart.
If you measure your blood pressure at home and find it’s consistently too high, you should talk to your doctor about it.