Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood through the body. High blood pressure means the force in the blood vessels is higher than it should be. When it stays high over time, it is called hypertension. A consistent blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg or higher is considered high and needs treatment.

When your doctor takes your blood pressure, the measurement has two numbers. The top number is the systolic pressure. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. For example, the numbers are written as 116/73 mm Hg. This would be said as “116 over 73”. The “mm Hg” means millimeters of mercury, which is the unit of measurement for blood pressure.

When in doubt, get your blood pressure checked out!

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings