Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways; including, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease. High blood pressure is a largely symptomless disease that often quietly threatens your health.
Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80. Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the top number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50.
New Guidelines for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults from the American Heart Association:
A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. People who have high blood pressure can take steps to control it, like following a treatment plan from your physician, keeping an active lifestyle, and consuming a limited amount of sodium per day.