Common Names:High Blood Pressure, Essential Hypertension, Primary Hypertension, Idiopathic Hypertension, Isolated Systolic Hypertension,
About this Ailment:
"Blood pressure" is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
Hypertension, commonly called High Blood Pressure (HPB), is sometimes referred to as Essential Hypertension, Primary Hypertension, or Idiopathic Hypertension when there is no known cause. In other cases of HBP, when only the systolic blood pressure number is high, the condition is called Isolated Systolic Hypertension (ISH). Many older adults have this condition and it can cause as much damage as when both numbers are high.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has HBP. The condition itself usually has no symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, HBP can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body. Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you're feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, eating healthy and regular exercise can help to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, treatment and lifestyle changes may help prevent damage to your body's organs.
Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic pressures. "Systolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. "Diastolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.)
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute the normal range for adults (18 years or older) who do not have a short-term serious illness is 120/80 or less. If your systolic (top number) is 120-139 or your diastolic (bottom number) is 80-89, you have Prehypertension and are at risk of becoming Hypertensive. Your systolic and diastolic numbers may not be in the same blood pressure category. In this case, the more severe category is the one you're in. For example, if your systolic (top) number is 160 and your diastolic (bottom) number is 80, you have stage 2 HBP. If your systolic number is 120 and your diastolic number is 95, you have stage 1 HBP.
If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, HBP is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher. HBP numbers also differ for children and teens.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure tends to rise with age, unless you take steps to prevent or control it. Following a healthy lifestyle helps some people delay or prevent this rise in blood pressure.
Some medical problems, such as chronic kidney disease, thyroid disease, and sleep apnea, may cause blood pressure to rise. Some medicines also may raise your blood pressure. Examples include asthma medicines (for example, corticosteroids) and cold-relief products.
In some women, blood pressure can rise if they use birth control pills, become pregnant, or take hormone therapy.
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