What is high blood pressure?
When the heart beats, blood is forced through the arteries and it "pushes out" against the walls of the arteries. This "pushing out" is known as blood pressure. Blood pressure is stated as two numbers: systolic and diastolic pressures. These two numbers are displayed one above the other like this: 120/78.
The systolic pressure is measured when the heart beats (when it is pumping blood). This is when the blood pressure is highest. The blood pressure falls when the heart is between beats (at rest). This is the diastolic pressure.
As a general rule, a person is considered to have high blood pressure when it is 140/90 or higher. Be aware that this is only a rule of thumb and you should have your blood pressure checked by a physician on a regular basis.
In a nutshell, high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is when the blood pressure is higher than normal.
Symptoms of high blood pressure
There are no reliable, recognizable symptoms of high blood pressure. It is quite possible to have high blood pressure for years and never even know it!
What causes high blood pressure?
In the vast majority of high blood pressure cases, the cause cannot be determined. In the rare cases where the cause is known, they usually include one or more of the following:
- an abnormal kidney
- a structural abnormality of the aorta
- narrowing of one or more arteries
How can high blood pressure be controlled?
There are several things that can be done to help control high blood pressure. These include:
- Lose weight. Excess fat has been linked to
high blood pressure.
- Eat a well-balanced, low sodium diet.
- Get regular exercise (see your doctor first!).
- Prescription medications (if your doctor recommends
- Any other steps that may be suggested by your
High blood pressure is a very serious disorder that must be controlled in order to enjoy a long, healthy life. Be sure to live a generally healthy lifestyle and have your blood pressure checked regularly.
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