Importance of blood pressure numbers

A Healthy You

Experts at Harvard now say that the top and bottom numbers on that blood pressure monitor are both important.

The top number, known as systolic pressure, reflects the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart contracts.

The bottom number, known as diastolic pressure, reflects the pressure in your blood vessels in the resting phase between heartbeats.

As you age, your blood vessels become stiffer and cholesterol can build up in the vessel so it’s harder for blood to flow through the vessel.

If the top number is above 130 or the bottom number is above 80, you are considered to have high blood pressure, or hypertension.

If either number is elevated this can increase your risk of stroke or heart disease.

When measuring your blood pressure, be sure to sit comfortably with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your arm resting on a table with your palm facing up.

And if the top or bottom number is reading high, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes or medications to get your blood pressure to a desired range.

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