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HYPERTENSION

What is high blood pressure?

Your blood pressure is a reflection of the mechanical pressure of your blood on your arteries. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) occurs when the pressure on your arteries is higher than normal, as defined by large scale population studies.


How is Blood Pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff (either manual or automated) and recorded as two numbers, for example, 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).


Blood pressure measurements are usually taken at the upper arm over the brachial artery. The top, larger number is called the systolic pressure. This measure the pressure generated when the heart contracts (pumps). It reflects the pressure of the blood against arterial walls. The bottom, smaller number is called the diastolic pressure.


This reflects the pressure in the arteries while the heart is filling and resting between heartbeats.


Recommended guidelines to define normal and high blood pressure are:

Normal blood pressure less than 120/80mmHg Pre-hypertension 120-139/80-89mmHg

High blood pressure 140/90mmHg or higher


Symptoms

High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms and high blood pressure often is labeled “the silent killer.” People who have high blood pressure typically don’t know it until their blood pressure is measured. Therefore, it is important to check your blood pressure regularly, at least once in every 3 months.


High blood pressure is a major risk for strokes and heart disease. Therefore it is crucial that high blood pressure be monitored, treated and controlled. CausesMost people (>90%) have primary hypertension (i.e. not due to any other medical problems), which is in part related to the following factors:

  • Genetics

  • Obesity

  • Lack of exercise

  • High-salt diet

  • Alcoholism


Treatment

Medications as well as a combination of lifestyle and dietary measures are usually required. ​


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