High blood pressure is a common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels, or arteries, at higher than normal pressures. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, sometimes called hypertension, is when this force against the artery walls is too high. Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood pressure if you have consistently high blood pressure readings.
To control or lower high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you adopt heart-healthy lifestyle changes, such as heart-healthy eating patterns like the DASH eating plan, alone or with medicines. Controlling or lowering blood pressure can also help prevent or delay high blood pressure complications, such as chronic kidney disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and possibly vascular dementia.Explore this Health Topic to learn more about high blood pressure, our role in research and clinical trials to improve health, and where to find more information.What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually the systolic number comes before or above the diastolic number. For example, 120/80 means a systolic of 120 and a diastolic of 80.How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So the only way to find out if you have it is to get regular blood pressure checks from your health care provider. Your provider will use a gauge, a stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff. He or she will take two or more readings at separate appointments before making a diagnosis.You have high blood pressure if your readings show thatYour systolic is 140 or higher OR
Your diastolic is 90 or higher
Some providers may consider you to have high blood pressure if you have other heart risk factors andYour systolic is between 130 and 139 OR
Your diastolic is between 80 and 89
Blood pressure readings above 180 /120 are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.For children and teens, the health care provider compares the blood pressure reading to what is normal for other kids who are the same age, height, and gender.What are the different types of high blood pressure?
There are two main types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary high blood pressure.Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. For most people who get this kind of blood pressure, it develops over time as you get older.
Secondary high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or use of certain medicines. It usually gets better after you treat that condition or stop taking the medicines that are causing it.