Blood pressure readings measure the pressure exerted on your heart when it pumps blood the resistance of blood flow in the arteries. The harder the heart has to pump and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
Generally, normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mmHg or lower. Readings above 140/90 mmHg are considered hypertension, and those above 180/120 mmHg are considered serious. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart diseases and stroke.
What are blood pressure ranges?
- Normal: 120 systolic over 80 diastolic
- Raised: 120-129 systolic over 80 or below diastolic
- Stage I hypertension: 130-139 systolic over 80-89 diastolic
- Stage II hypertension: 140 or higher systolic over 90 or higher diastolic
- Hypertensive crisis: 180 systolic over 120 diastolic
What causes hypertension?
Because hypertension develops over time, the exact specific cause is unknown. However, genetics is one of the main risk factors. If your parents or immediate family have hypertension, you are at greater risk of developing the condition.
Other factors that can contribute to developing hypertension include:
What are the signs and symptoms of hypertension?
Hypertension is referred to as the “silent killer” because it typically produces no discernable symptoms.
In some cases, people with hypertension may experience:
- Severe headaches
- Vision issues
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
However, these signs and symptoms are not specific to hypertension and do not occur until blood pressure has already reached extremely high or life-threatening leves.
How is hypertension diagnosed?
After taking your medical history and conducting a physical examination, your doctor will measure your blood pressure. If your blood pressure reading is high, they may order tests to confirm a diagnosis of hypertension and check for underlying conditions:
How to treat hypertension
Lifestyle changes are the standard, first-line treatment for hypertension:
- Adequate hydration
- Reducing salt intake
- Dietary changes
- Regular exercise
- Weight management
- Stress management
- Smoking cessation
- Avoiding alcohol
Medications used to treat hypertension depend on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health:
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/index.htm
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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