Disease Prevention in Women

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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High blood pressure (hypertension)

About one-sixth of all Americans have high blood pressure, and the incidence of this disease increases with age. Consequently, the proportion among adults is higher, and it is even higher among seniors. African-Americans are more likely than others to have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can cause arterial disease (atherosclerosis) that can lead to heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.

Screening tests

Blood pressure measurements

  • High-normal blood pressure is 130-139/85-89.
  • Stage 1 hypertension is 140-159/90-99.
  • Stages 2 and 3 blood pressure are >160 / >100.

Who to test and how often

  • How often blood pressure should be checked depends on how severely elevated the blood pressure is. It also depends on the presence of other risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
  • Adults with most recent normal blood pressure of systolic < 130 and diastolic < 85 should be checked at least every other year.

Benefits of early detection

High blood pressure can cause diseases without any early warning symptoms.

There is good evidence that treatment of high blood pressure can reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and kidney failure.

Actually there is good evidence that adults with all degrees of high blood pressure can benefit from blood pressure lowering, thus it is important to discuss with your doctor about weight management, exercise, and stress management.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/13/2016

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