As someone who has always exercised and tried to live a healthy life, I have been fortunate to have relatively low blood pressure (even throughout pregnancy, I averaged 110/70 most days). But I have watched both of my parents fight high blood pressure as they age, so I know a healthy lifestyle alone may not keep it under control. Here are a few ways you can make sure your blood pressure isn’t a sign you’re at risk for heart disease, stroke, and other dangerous diseases.

Ways to keep your blood pressure under control

with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE
and Chelsea Cole, PTA

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can put you at risk for a variety of health problems, especially heart and kidney failure, stroke and vascular disease. It’s important to know in what range your blood pressure falls, as well as whether it’s consistent over time.

When your doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure, it will be a ratio of two numbers, like 120/80. The first number is your systolic blood pressure, or your arterial pressure (that is, the pressure in your arteries) when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, or the arterial pressure between heart beats (when your heart is at rest).

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