High blood pressure

Hypertension; HBP

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood to your body. Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers. The top number is called the systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mm Hg).

One or both of these numbers can be too high. (Note: These numbers apply to people who are not taking medicines for blood pressure and are not ill.)

  • Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mm Hg most of the time.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) is when your blood pressure is 140/90 mm Hg or above most of the time.
  • If your blood pressure numbers are 120/80 or higher, but below 140/90, it is called pre-hypertension.

If you have heart or kidney problems, or you had a stroke, your doctor may want your blood pressure to be even lower than that of people who do not have these conditions.

Monitoring blood pressure

Hypertension is a disorder characterized by chronically high blood pressure. It must be monitored, treated and controlled by medicines, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.

Untreated hypertension

Hypertension is a disorder characterized by chronically high blood pressure. It must be monitored, treated and controlled by medicines, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.

Lifestyle changes

Hypertension is a disorder characterized by chronically high blood pressure. It must be monitored, treated and controlled by medicines, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.

DASH diet

A diet that is effective in lowering blood pressure is called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH).

High blood pressure tests

Routine lab tests are recommended before beginning treatment of high blood pressure to determine organ or tissue damage or other risk factors. These lab tests include urinalysis, blood cell count, blood chemistry (potassium, sodium, creatinine, fasting glucose, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol), and an ECG (electrocardiogram). Additional tests may be recommended based on your condition.

Blood pressure check

To measure blood pressure, your doctor uses an instrument call a sphygmomanometer, which is more often referred to as a blood pressure cuff. The cuff is wrapped around your upper arm and inflated to stop the flow of blood in your artery. As the cuff is slowly deflated, your doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to the blood pumping through the artery. These pumping sounds register on a gauge attached to the cuff. The first pumping sound your doctor hears is recorded as the systolic pressure, and the last sound is the diastolic pressure.

Blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force applied against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood pumped and the size and flexibility of the arteries.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention