Frequently Asked Questions
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of force needed to push your blood to all parts of your body. It is measured at two times – when the heart is beating (the systolic pressure) and when it is relaxed between beats (the diastolic pressure).
What is hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure (blood pressure higher than the level considered healthy for an individual).
What is a healthy blood pressure level?
For most Canadians, blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg is considered healthy. However, people with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg.
Why is high blood pressure unhealthy?
Untreated high blood pressure can lead to angina (chest pain), a heart attack, a stroke or damage to various organs. These occur because increased pressure on the walls of the blood vessels can damage these vessels and make the heart work harder.
Can I reduce my blood pressure without taking medication?
Becoming smoke-free is one step you can take. Lifestyle changes that can reduce blood pressure include eating a healthy diet (low in salt and saturated fats and high in fresh fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy products), exercising regularly (30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 4 to 7 days a week), achieving/maintaining a healthy weight and drinking less alcohol (for men who have more than 14 drinks and women who have more than 9 drinks per week). Click here for additional resources on managing blood pressure.
What if I can’t get my blood pressure level as low as my doctor recommends?
While any improvement in your blood pressure will reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, reaching your recommended blood pressure will have the greatest health benefits. For some people, lifestyle changes alone can help them achieve their recommended blood pressure level; while others might require one or more types of medication, in addition to lifestyle changes, to do so. Talk to your doctor about further steps that can be taken.