High blood pressure is a condition in which there is tension, or high pressure, in the arteries. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a state in which the systolic pressure repeatedly exceeds 140 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) with the diastolic pressure over 90. The blood pressure reading shows the systolic pressure number on top and the diastolic pressure number on the bottom (i.e. 140/90).
The systolic pressure is equal to the pressure in the arteries when blood is being pumped forward into them as the heart contracts. The diastolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes after each contraction.
An increase in either the systolic blood pressure or the diastolic pressure or both may be indicative of possible health problems. Untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), kidney failure, damage to the eyes, and/or stroke.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Oftentimes, there are no noticeable symptoms of high blood pressure until it has reached the stage of causing serious complications, such as heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. Premature death can be a fatal consequence of untreated high blood pressure. Thus, hypertension has been labeled “the silent killer.” This is why it is so important to have routine checkups and periodic blood pressure screenings. If there IS a problem with your blood pressure, it can be detected early through regular exams.
Occasionally, uncomplicated cases of high blood pressure will produce symptoms such as headache, dizziness, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Some people may decide to seek medical care when these symptoms appear. They may also be encouraged to take their medications as prescribed. On the other hand, these symptoms may go ignored or may not even appear until more serious complications arise.
Treatment is focused on reducing water retention and lowering blood pressure to normal limits. Treatment for high blood pressure depends on the severity of the disease and whether you have other health problems, such as heart failure or diabetes, or you are pregnant.
Treatment of primary high blood pressure, especially moderate or severe high blood pressure, decreases the risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease, heart attack, abnormal heartbeats, stroke, and kidney disease, and reduces the risk of death from these conditions. Treatment for high blood pressure must be highly individualized and based on your risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and heart disease. Treatment when blood pressure increases slightly and the woman is not near the end of her pregnancy, bed rest may help reduce the pressure. Treatment begins with changes you can make in your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease .
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High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no symptoms. When high blood pressure is not found and treated, it can cause: The heart to get larger, which may lead to heart failure. If your blood pressure is in the prehypertension range, it is more likely that you will end up with high blood pressure unless you take action to prevent it. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, then you have prehypertension.
The good news is that if your blood pressure is high, it can be lowered by making changes to your lifestyle, for example changing your diet, exercising and losing weight, and when needed, with tablets. The medical community?s knowledge of high blood pressure is great, but far from perfect. High blood pressure is more common: In patients whose families have high blood pressure In those over 35 years old In males In Afro-Americans In women on oral contraceptives. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it taken by a person who knows how (those automatic machines you sit at in the supermarket are not necessarily kept accurate condition.
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