Blood pressure is one of the most important screenings because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms so it can’t be detected without being measured. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, be sure to get it checked at least once every two years, starting at age 20. If your blood pressure is higher, your doctor may want to check it more often. High blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes or medication. After age 65, women have a higher risk of high blood pressure than men, and African-American adults of all ages have a higher-than-average risk.
Blood pressure measures how much force a person’s blood is putting on the artery walls as the heart pumps. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when that person’s heart has to work extra hard to pump blood throughout the body. High blood pressure often happens when arteries lose their elasticity through hardening caused by cholesterol, plaque or scarring.