High Blood Pressure, Explained!

Last Editorial Review: 6/27/2002

The measurement that the doctor takes at the office to determine our Blood Pressure (BP) is due to the recurrent pumping of blood by the heart which creates a cyclic force of blood against the blood vessels. Normally the vessels are flexible enough to expand and contract; this expansion and contraction of the vessels produces the Blood Pressure. This value in the normal adult is about 120/80.

Sometimes, blood vessels become less flexible or narrowed; when this happens the heart has to pump harder to get the blood to go through the vessels. The end result is an increase in pressure in the vessels-High Blood Pressure. Stress or heavy exercise can cause a temporary increase in BP.
Continuously elevated BP leads to damage of many organs, especially the heart, kidneys and brain. Early treatment has been shown to reduce the complications of High Blood Pressure.

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