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Blood pressure is the pressure inside your arteries that is generated by your heart to keep blood running throughout your body. If this pressure is higher than normal, or stays high for a long time, you may have high blood pressure, or hypertension. If left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to health problems, such as heart failure, kidney failure, stroke and other diseases.

Blood Pressure Guidelines

Blood Pressure Chart

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

Some risk factors for high blood pressure you cannot change:

  • Family history
  • Age (the older you get, the higher your risk)
  • Race (African Americans are more at risk)

Other risk factors you can change. You can lower your risk for high blood pressure by remembering the following:

  • Eat a balance diet and reduce sodium (salt).
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Manage or reduce stress.
  • Aim for a healthy weight.