Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them.  Blood pressure has two numbers, systolic and diastolic.  Systolic pressure is the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart.  Diastolic pressure is the force that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats.  The higher your numbers are the more serious the condition.

Blood pressure is considered normal when less than 120/80

Prehypertension measures between 120 & 139 systolic and between 80 and 89 diastolic

High blood pressure means systolic is 140 systolic or higher and diastolic is 90 or higher.

You may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure, but it can damage your health in many ways.  For example, it can harden the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and brain.  This reduced flow can cause:

  • A heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from a lack of oxygen.
  • A stroke, which can occur when arteries that supply the blood and oxygen to the brain become blocked or burst.
  • Chest pain, also called angina
  • Heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to the other organs

According to the Centers for disease Control (CDC) 67 million American adults have high blood pressure and only 16 million know that they have the condition and are getting treatment, but their blood pressure remains higher than it should be.  If you have high blood pressure take these steps to get it under control:

  • Ask your doctor about your blood pressure and set a goal and work with your doctor to get it under control.
  • Take blood pressure medication as directed.
  • Quit Smoking (call 1-800-Quitnow) Smoking temporarily raises blood pressure, and it DOES increase the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. (Smoking injuries blood vessel walls and speeds up the process of hardening of the arteries. Once you quit, your risks of having a heart attack is reduced after the first year.  So there is a lot to gain by quitting tobacco.)
  • Reduce sodium (too much sodium raises the risk for high blood pressure.

Contact Us

Geri Essen – Health Promotion Director, Summit County Health Department

650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Phone: 435-333-1505 Fax: 435-333-1580

Olivia Gunnerson – Health Educator, Summit County Health Department

650 Round Valley Drive, Park City, UT 84060
Phone: 435-333-1507 Fax: 435-333-1580