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Publication 10148

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The heart is a pump that keeps blood flowing through the arteries and veins. The pressure of the blood is not steady—pressure surges with each heartbeat. When the heart beats, the blood pressure in the vessels is the highest. When the heart relaxes, the blood pressure is lowest. Knowing your blood pressure is as important as knowing your weight and height. High blood pressure (hypertension) is associated with an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, ruptured blood vessels and kidney failure. In this activity, you can measure your blood pressure.