Best Bodyweight Exercise Program
Wellness Tip Always relax a few minutes before checking your blood pressure; doing so will help your blood pressure settle to its normal level. You may get a false reading if you take your blood pressure when you’re agitated, moving around, or talking.
High Blood Pressure In addition to being a form of CVD in itself, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for other forms of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
Blood pressure, the force exerted by the blood on the vessel walls, is created by the pumping action of the heart. High blood pressure occurs when too much force is exerted against the walls of the arteries. Short periods of high blood pressure such as in response to excitement or exertion are normal, but chronic high blood pressure is a health risk.
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Health care professionals measure blood pressure with a stethoscope and an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. At home, you can track your own blood pressure by using an inexpensive blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure is expressed as two numbers for example, 120 over 80 and measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The first number is systolic blood pressure; the second is diastolic blood pressure (see Post 3). A normal blood pressure reading for a healthy adult is below 120 systolic over 80 diastolic; CVD risk increases when blood pressure rises above this level. High blood pressure in adults is defined as equal to or greater than 140 over 90 (Table 11.1).
High blood pressure results from an increased output of blood by the heart or from increased resistance to blood flow in the arteries. The latter condition can be caused by the constriction of smooth muscle surrounding the arteries or by atherosclerosis, a disease process that causes arteries to become clogged and narrowed. High blood pressure also scars and hardens arteries, making them less elastic and further increasing blood pressure. When a person has high blood pressure, the heart must work harder than normal to force blood through the narrowed and stiffened arteries, straining
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