High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

High Blood Pressure Treatment

Other dietary considerations

It is beneficial to add potassium to the diet. Studies show that people who consume more potassium have lower blood pressures. Good sources of potassium include:

  • bananas,
  • melons,
  • oranges,
  • spinach and
  • zucchini.

Along with lowering salt in the diet, a balanced eating plan that also reduces cholesterol intake and fatty foods is recommended. The TLC Diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) often is recommended to lower blood cholesterol.

Quick GuideHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

High Blood Pressure Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as high pressure (tension) in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers. The systolic blood pressure (the top number) equals the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts. The diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80; blood pressure between 120/80 and 139/89 is called "pre-hypertension," and a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high while a systolic blood pressure of about 90 to 100 is considered low blood pressure.

Complications of high blood pressure include heart disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke (brain damage).

Hypertension is a major public health problem. The American Heart Association estimates high blood pressure affects approximately one in three adults in the United States, or about 76.4 million people.

Reviewed on 2/18/2014
References
REFERENCES:

"About High Blood Pressure." American Heart Association. 22 Jan. 2013.

"Physical Activity and Blood Pressure." American Heart Association. 11 Feb. 2014.

"Understanding Blood Pressure Readings." American Heart Association. 1 Mar. 2013.

"How Is High Blood Pressure Treated?" National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2 Aug. 2012.

"Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure With DASH." National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Apr. 2006.

Kaplan, N. M., et al. "Overview of hypertension in adults." UpToDate. 14 Jan. 2014.

Mann, J. F. E., et al. "Choice of therapy in primary (essential) hypertension: Recommendations." UpToDate. 7 Jan. 2014.

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