Your doctor says you have high blood pressure (BP) with a reading of 140/90, but what do those numbers really mean? The larger top number, systolic, measures the pressure when the heart squeezes (beats) and blood moves out along the vessels. The smaller bottom number, diastolic, measures when the heart rests between beats and refills with blood. High BP or hypertension is a warning sign that your heart is overworked and at risk of heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm.
The World Health Organization says high blood pressure threatens more than 1 in 5 adults globally. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent high BP. For one, research suggests moving more may help – think of physical activity as an all-around release valve for your heart. Find answers to your frequently asked questions about hypertension here.