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What Is Blood Pressure (BP)?

Arteries move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When your heart beats, it creates pressure in your arteries. Healthy arteries stretch as the heart beats. Pressure is needed to move blood. This is called blood pressure.

How is blood pressure measured?

A doctor or nurse will use a special inflatable cuff to measure the pressure in your arteries. It will be tight on your arm but painless.

What is High Blood Pressure?

The blood pressure machine will show two numbers. The top number is when blood is being pumped to your body, called systolic. The bottom number is when your heart is at rest, diastolic. Normal blood pressure is 120/ 80. High blood pressure is 140 / 90 or higher.

Graphic shows arm with blood pressure cuff on it. Enlarged image shows inside of blood vessel with arrows showing direction of pressure on blood vessel walls.

If your blood pressure stays high for a long time, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension.

Image shows healthy blood vessel/blood flow vs narrowed blood vessel with restricted blood flow

Signs and Symptoms

There are no signs and symptoms of hypertension. Visit your doctor every year so your blood pressure can be checked.

You are at risk if you are:
  • African American
  • Your parents have high blood pressure
  • 45 or older

• Overweight
• A diet high in salt
• Lack of activity
• Smoking
• Stress
• Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
Image - apple with measuring tape around it. Text overlay says Overweight or Obesity; salt shaker full of salt. Text overlay says High sodium salt usage; Glass filled with red wine. Text overlay says Alcohol use.

Tips to Help Lower High Blood Pressure:

Regular doctor appointments
If you smoke, try to quit or smoke less
Physical activity
o 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week


o Drink water instead of alcohol and coffee
o Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
o Maintain a healthy weight
o Avoid salty food like pretzels


o Take your medications every day

More Information:

Deaf Health on High Blood Pressure:

American Heart Association:

Physical Activity

Web site for more information on being active. index.html

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Overweight. everyone/basics/fat/saturatedfat.html

Section created by Ashley Raia 2017.5