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Blood pressure screening

Your blood pressure can change at any time, depending on your activity level, stress and many other factors.




Less than 120/80

122/82 - 139-89

140-90 or higher


Measuring blood pressure

Heart risk assessment
Need a physician

When the heart beats, the vessel walls contract, moving the blood. The harder the muscles contract, the higher the blood pressure becomes because there is less room inside the blood vessels.

Systolic pressure (top number) is measured when the vessel wall contracts.

Diastolic pressure (bottom number) is measured when the vessel wall relaxes, between beats.

Symptoms of high blood pressure:

  • Persistent headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Tension
  • Chest pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath

What can you do about high blood pressure?


  • Know what your blood pressure is.
  • Work with your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.
  • Limit your intake of salt.
  • Lose excess weight.
  • Exercise at least three times a week.
  • Follow a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet.
  • Take medications as prescribed.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid certain over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines.
  • Decrease stress factors.

Risk factors

You are at risk if you:

  • Are African-American
  • Are a woman using oral contraceptives
  • Are obese
  • Have a family history of high blood pressure
  • Drink alcohol excessively
  • Are diabetic
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have sleep apnea

For more information on high blood pressure and other heart-related topics, visit Baptist Health La Grange’s online Heart Care Library.