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What is High Blood Pressure?
(Also called: HBP, HTN, Hypertension)
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls during the day. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure. The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension.
Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Usually they are written one above or before the other. A reading of
- 120/80 or lower is normal blood pressure
- 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure
- 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is prehypertension
Why is High Blood Pressure Dangerous?
High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis, (hardening of the arteries). High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.
Treatment of High Blood Pressure
You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed.