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How to Interpret Your Blood Pressure Readings

Last updated 3 years ago

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often thought of as a silent killer, because it can significantly raise a person’s risk for stroke, heart attack, and other serious cardiac conditions without any prior symptoms. Most often, the only way to know that you have high blood pressure is by regularly having blood pressure screenings with the doctor or monitoring your blood pressure at home. As you begin to look at the readings, you should consider the following points to understand what each reading means.

Knowing the numbers

When you measure your blood pressure, you will see two numbers: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure shows the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats, and diastolic pressure is measured between heartbeats when the heart is resting and refilling with blood. Each number is important, but the systolic blood pressure is often the area of focus, since it is the number associated with cardiovascular disease. Normal blood pressure readings are below 120/80, with the 120-139 range considered prehypertension for systolic pressure.

Recognizing patterns

A single high blood pressure reading does not indicate hypertension, since there are environmental factors that can temporarily cause your blood pressure to spike. When you are under stress, for example, your blood pressure readings may be higher than usual. This means that you will need to measure your blood pressure regularly and look for patterns of high readings.

Taking preventive action

Even if your blood pressure is consistently normal, you will want to take steps to make sure it stays that way. The risk for high blood pressure only increases with age, so you may need to establish a regular workout routine and make changes in your diet now to keep your numbers stable later on.

At Brandon Regional Hospital, we can cover your preventive care needs through our Heart and Vascular Center serving Hillsborough County. Call our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line today at (888) 327-2636 to discover the screenings, classes, and cardiac procedures that will pave the way to your heart attack free future. 


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Disclaimer: The materials provided are intended for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor for medical advice. Use of and access to this website or other materials do not create a physician-patient relationship. The opinions expressed through this website are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the hospital, medical staff, or any individual physician or other healthcare professional.
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