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What does “know your numbers” mean in reference to one’s blood pressure?

“Blood pressure is a key indicator for determining your risk of developing some serious illnesses,” says Linda Ly, M.D., a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Controlling your blood pressure readings – or numbers – can help safeguard your health.”

Dr. Ly says high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the most common cardiovascular disease.

“What’s scary is that almost anyone can have it and not know it,” she says. “Left uncontrolled, along with heart disease, high blood pressure can also be a contributing factor in causing a stroke, kidney disease, eye problems and a shortened life expectancy.”

Blood pressure readings are determined by measuring the force of blood against vessel walls and recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio.

“Systolic, the top number, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats,” she explains. “Diastolic, the bottom number, measures pressure in the arteries between beats.”

Emphasizing that blood pressure can vary from person to person and rise or fall with changes in physical activity or emotional state, Dr. Ly suggests you have a serious discussion with your personal physician about what blood pressure ranges are best for you.

“See your primary care physician for a complete medical checkup and learn more about your numbers and what they mean to your health. Your body will thank you for it,” concludes Dr. Ly, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus.​

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Linda Ly, MD

​I believe in continuity of care and in the importance of developing a strong, trusting relationship with each and every one of my patients. I also think that patient education is a key factor in the treatment plan, especially those with chronic medical issues. Through understanding the disease processes and the available treatments, patients can become more knowledgeable and motivated to work together with us as a team to improve their overall health and quality of life.