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What Your Blood Pressure Measurements Actually Mean

What Your Blood Pressure Measurements Actually Mean

Did you know that almost half (47%) of all American adults have chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension? Having high blood pressure spells trouble for your overall health, increasing your risk of stroke, heart failure, and death. 

High blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms, which is why you need to get your blood pressure checked regularly. But what do those numbers mean?

The board-certified providers at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, are here to help. As part of our comprehensive primary care services, we monitor your blood pressure, helping you make adjustments if it’s elevated. 

We’ve created this helpful post explaining the ins and outs of blood pressure and why managing it is so important for your health.

Understanding blood pressure numbers

Arteries move blood from your heart to other areas of your body. This keeps your tissues and organs oxygenated and able to function well. 

The measurement of the pressure your blood puts on the walls of your arteries is called your blood pressure. The reading of your blood pressure has two numbers: the systolic (top) number and the diastolic (bottom) number. 

The systolic number measures the pressure in your arteries during your heartbeats,while the diastolic number measures the pressure between heartbeats. Together, this reading helps your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider understand your risk for hypertension. 

Here’s a look at how your provider interprets your blood pressure reading:

You’re diagnosed with either stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension when you chronically (again and again over time) have high blood pressure readings. 

Why blood pressure matters

Hypertension can take years to develop. And, most of the time, it doesn’t trigger any noticeable symptoms even though it causes serious damage to your heart and blood vessels. 

Because the only symptom is having a high blood pressure reading, the condition is often called the “silent killer,” as unmanaged hypertension leads to many serious health complications, including:

Hypertension is such a serious threat to your health that the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology lowered the threshold for when it’s time to seek medical intervention.

The good news is that by taking control as early as possible of your elevated or high blood pressure, you can prevent additional damage to your body and can even save your life. Therefore, if your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider tells you your blood pressure is elevated or high, don’t wait to take action. 

Managing hypertension

While occasionally people develop hypertension for no known cause, at Wasatch Peak Family Practice, our primary care providers understand hypertension usually develops because of your lifestyle and other health-related concerns, such as being overweight or physically inactive. 

That’s why our team generally uses an integrated approach to managing hypertension. We review your medical history, family history, lifestyle, and other factors to create a personalized hypertension treatment plan.

Managing your blood pressure may involve the use of medications to help reduce the stress chronically high blood pressure places on your cardiovascular system. However, long-term treatment typically includes other strategies that can help you control your blood pressure and improve your heart health. 

For example, depending on your blood pressure numbers and other personal factors, your provider may recommend one or more of the following in addition or instead of hypertension medication:

For more information about what your blood pressure numbers mean or to schedule a blood pressure check, schedule an appointment by phone or online with a provider at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah. 

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