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Diagnosis of hypertension

High blood pressure, fortunately, is easy to detect. It is diagnosed by measuring the pressure inside your blood vessels. 

At Dignity Health, your doctor measures two forces to determine your blood pressure:

  • Systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure as your heart contracts and pushes blood through your body. It’s the top number of a blood pressure reading and should be less than 120
  • Diastolic blood pressure. This is the measure of pressure when your heart is relaxed and filling with blood. It’s the bottom number of a blood pressure reading and should be less than 80.


At Dignity Health, our doctors focus on treating primary hypertension (high blood pressure) by helping patients manage and minimize their symptoms through lifestyle changes and medication. Secondary hypertension is managed by treating the underlying cause, such as kidney or thyroid disease.

For treating primary hypertension, doctors at Dignity Health may recommend these lifestyle changes:

  • A low-salt diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Not smoking

Dignity Health provides a wide range of treatment options for high blood pressure as part of our cardiology services.

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.

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