• Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure, which measures the pressure of the blood within the arteries. To really understand what hypertension is, you must first know about how blood pressure works.

    Blood pressure definition

    Blood pressure is represented by two numbers measuring systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure measures the pressure created when the heart beats and contracts, pushing blood into the arteries. Diastolic pressure measures the amount of pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy blood pressure is around 120/80, and high blood pressure, or hypertension, is anything measuring 140/90 or higher.

    Risk Factors

    Although anyone can be at risk for developing high blood pressure, there are certain factors that can increase that risk. People with a family history of high blood pressure have a greater risk of getting hypertension, and African Americans are also at higher risk than Caucasians. Other risk factors include smoking, obesity and diabetes.


    High blood pressure is a dangerous condition because it can lead to serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease.


    Hypertension usually doesn't have any symptoms, which is why it is important to regularly have your blood pressure checked. When symptoms do occur, they might include chest pain, confusion, buzzing in the ears, irregular heart beat, nosebleed, fatigue or changes in vision.

    Prevention and Treatment

    A healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent developing hypertension from developing. To treat high blood pressure, you should eat a healthy diet that is low in fat and sodium, exercise regularly and if you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible. Medication might be necessary to treat high blood pressure, which a doctor will prescribe if needed. The types commonly prescribed are angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), diuretics, beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers.



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