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High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is sometimes called the "silent killer" because it usually has no noticeable warning signs or symptoms until other serious problems arise.

Did you know that high blood pressure is the 2nd leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.? March is National Kidney Month. Read about healthy lifestyle habits that can help with Chronic Kidney Disease.

In 2021, over 42% of Alabamians reported having high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. Having high blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in Alabama. 

Know your numbers: blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say "120 over 80" or write "120/80 mmHg."

Blood Pressure Categories

Systolic: mm Hg (upper #) | Diastolic: mm Hg (lower #)

  • Normal
    Systolic: less than 120
    Diastolic: less than 80
  • Elevated
    Systolic: 120-129
    Diastolic: less than 80
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 1)
    Systolic: 130 - 139
    Diastolic: 80 - 89
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension Stage 2)
    Systolic: 140 or higher
    Diastolic: 90
  • Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency C is Needed)
    Systolic: higher than 180
    Diastolic: higher than 120

Note: Your doctor should evaluate unusually low blood pressure readings.

Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure:

CVH program has several Self-Monitoring Blood Pressure sites around the state. Here is a map with locations.


Page last updated: March 24, 2023