Your blood pressure reading is a service we are happy to provide. Because we see you every six months or so, we're in a good position to monitor changes in your blood pressure, changes that can signal the onset of heart disease and stroke.

Your blood pressure yields two numbers, 120/70, for instance. The first number is systolic pressure, or the force of blood against the arteries as it is pumped out of the heart. The second number is diastolic pressure, the force of blood against the arteries as the heart is filling. A high reading (systolic above 140 or diastolic above 90) means that your heart is working too hard.

High blood pressure (hypertension) has many causes. Some are diet, stress, aging, and genetics. Overweight people tend to have higher blood pressure, as do women during pregnancy. Smoking and alcohol are clearly contributing factors also.

Even if your blood pressure has always been normal, regular readings are a good idea. You may not experience any symptoms because they are often silent. You could have hypertension, in spite of the best lifestyle habits.

If we find you borderline or clearly hypertensive, a doctor will discuss with you any contributing factors that you can control, and refer you to your physician.