Your doctor, nurse or technician can tell you your blood pressure results immediately after the test.
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure measurement has two numbers:
The top number (systolic) is the pressure of the blood flow when your heart muscle contracts, pumping blood.
The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure measured between heartbeats.
Here’s a look at blood pressure categories and what they mean. If your top and bottom numbers fall into two different ranges, your correct blood pressure category is the higher one.
|Top number (systolic) in mm Hg||And/or||Bottom number (diastolic) in mm Hg||Your category*|
|Below 90||or||Below 60||Low blood pressure† (hypotension)|
|Below 120||and||Below 80||Normal blood pressure|
|120-129||and||Below 80||Elevated blood pressure|
|130-139||or||80-89||Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension)|
|140 or more||or||90 or more||Stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension)|
If you have high blood pressure, making a few lifestyle changes can improve your heart health.
Reduce salt (sodium). The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day. Ideally, most adults should limit salt to less than 1,500 mg a day. Remember to check salt content in processed foods, such as canned soups and frozen foods.
Eat healthy foods. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Eat less saturated fat and total fat.
Limit alcohol. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
If you smoke, quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing even 5 pounds (2.2 kilograms) can lower your blood pressure.
Exercise regularly. Staying active helps lower your blood pressure and manage your weight. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of the two.
If lifestyle changes do not successfully manage your blood pressure, your doctor may recommend medication. If you have low blood pressure, your symptoms will depend on the cause. Together, you and your doctor can discuss the best treatment for you.
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