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Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) normally written with the systolic number first. Systolic pressure is the highest pressure in an artery when your heart is pumping blood to your body. Diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure in an artery when your heart is at rest. When it comes to blood pressure, lower is better, as long as patients are not light headed.

Blood pressure is considered “hypertensive” when the systolic / diastolic pressure reads over 140 / 90. The ideal level is 115 / 75 and anything in between is considered “pre-hypertensive.” Causes of high blood pressure include stress, a diet high in sodium (salt), smoking, caffeine intake, obesity, kidney disease and genetics.