Get tips on how to manage your blood pressure to benefit your heart.
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day, but if it stays up, you have high blood pressure. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.
The below shows varying blood pressure categories: low risk, medium risk, high risk. Speak to your doctor to get a proper blood pressure measurement.
Category: Systolic/Diastolic (top number/bottom number)
Low risk: 120 / 80
Medium risk: 121-139 / 80 - 89
High risk: 140+ / 90
If you have diabetes, the high risk category for your blood pressure is slightly lower. Your blood pressure should be less than 130 / 80. Talk to your doctor if your blood pressure level is higher than 130 / 80 on more than one occasion.
Systolic blood pressure should be less than 150 for people over 80 years of age.
Learn more about high blood pressure.
How do I check my blood pressure?
Make an appointment with your doctor to check your blood pressure. It is recommended that you get your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (or other related conditions), your doctor may recommend that you get it checked more often. Be sure to ask your doctor how often you should have your blood pressure checked.
How do I control my blood pressure?
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
- If your doctor has prescribed medication for hypertension, take it as directed.
- Cut down on sodium. High sources of sodium are found in snack foods and smoked, salted, cured or canned meats and fish. Eat less that 2,300 mg of sodium (1 tsp/5mL of salt) a day.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Get active and exercise at least 150 minutes a week. Choose activities you like: cycling, swimming, gardening and walking are great ways to keep active.
- Limit your alcohol. Try to limit yourself to no more than two drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 10 for women and three drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 15 for men.
- Quit smoking.
- Manage your stress.
Get more tips on how to control your blood pressure.