Blood pressure is determined by two numbers. One number shows the pressure when the heart is beating. The second number is when the heart is at rest. These numbers are important indicators of how well the cardiovascular system is working.
By the Numbers : Many reputable websites have a chart showing the tables that indicate a problem. Generally it is good to have the numbers under 120/80. Prehypertension is 129/89. Stage one of the disorder is 139/99 and stage two is anything over 140/100.
Why is it a problem ? Imagine your blood vessels was a high power water hose. Now imagine putting a coffee filter over it and turning on the water full blast. That's what happens to the kidneys when blood pressure is too high. High readings can also cause heart problems in a similar fashion.
Getting Tested : There are several ways to find out what your numbers are. Many pharmacies will take readings for free. Some of them and some supermarkets have a machine that will take it. You can buy your own kit, I think mine cost all of $ 15. Your doctor will also have it checked on each visit.
What do I do if it's high ? Barring a problem such as an accident or “white coat syndrome” (being afraid of the doctor), you will probably be put on medication to regulate blood pressure. There are several and they work in different ways. It may take several tries before the right medication (s) are found.
You may also want to change your diet and lifestyle a bit. Lowering sodium intake can be beneficial and garlic is a good supplement for this problem. Adding exercise two or three times a week can also prove beneficial. The most important thing is to keep an eye on your numbers and report to the doctor if it is consistently high.