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Blood Pressure 101: Why Are Those Numbers Important?

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What is Blood Pressure?
Having blood pressure is a good thing. Blood pressure helps blood circulate through your body, sending oxygen and nutrients to vital organs and keeping you alive.

What causes blood pressure?
With each beat, your heart pumps blood to your arteries and creates two kinds of force—or pressure—in your arteries.

  • The first kind of force happens when blood is pumped into your arteries and through your circulatory system.
  • The second force happens when your arteries resist the blood flow. In a healthy person, the arteries are elastic and they stretch a bit when blood is pumped through them. How much they stretch depends on how much force the blood exerts.

Under normal conditions, your heart beats between 60 and 80 times a minute and your blood pressure changes frequently, increasing with each heartbeat and decreasing when the heart rests between beats.

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