What Should My Goal Be If I Need Treatment For High Blood Pressure?

Question: What should my goal (numbers) be if I need treatment for high blood pressure?

Answer: The current recommendations for your blood pressure goals are based upon two numbers. We tell patients that there is a top number called the systolic blood pressure reading and a bottom number that we call the diastolic reading. It's not important to remember the names, but just remember that there are two numbers, a top and bottom.

We want the top number to be less than 135 and the bottom number to be less than 85. Now if you come into the doctor's office and your top number is 150 but every time you test it at home it's below 135 you're still having some trouble. Research shows that patients who come into the doctor's office and have an elevated blood pressure also face an increased risk for stroke and heart disease. So it's important to have a low blood pressure reading every time you take it, even at the stressful doctor's visit.

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