Blood pressure basics

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May is “National High Blood Pressure Education Month.”

It’s also a good time to find out how to keep your blood pressure under control.

Each time your heart beats, blood is pumped out of the heart, into blood vessels and throughout the body.

Your blood pressure is a measure of the force inside the arteries with each heartbeat.

It’s monitored by two numbers: the top number, or systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure needed to push the blood out to the body.

The bottom number, or the diastolic blood pressure, is the amount of pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest.

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If your blood pressure is high you are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease.

You will be at less risk if your blood pressure is less than 120 over 80.