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General Information - Hypertension

General Information

Hypertension means you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure that your blood exerts on the walls of your blood vessels. High blood pressure in an adult is a reading greater than, or equal to140/90.

Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers:

  • Systolic Pressure is the top number. It is the force that blood exerts on the artery walls during a heart beat.
  • Diastolic Pressure is the lower number. It is the force that blood exerts on the arteries between heart beats.

If your blood pressure reading is between 120/80 to 139/89 you may be at risk for high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage your eyes, heart, kidneys, arteries and can cause a heart attack or stroke.

You should know your blood pressure and track it. Your doctor will need to treat your blood pressure if it is high and stays high over time. If you have high blood pressure, your health care provider may suggest that you exercise, eat less salt, and quit smoking. You may need to take medicines to keep your blood pressure down.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) (MedlinePlus)

What Is High Blood Pressure? (American Heart Association)

Blood Pressure (Also available in Spanish) (American Heart Association)

High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do to Help Lower Yours (American Academy of Family Physicians)

Hypertensive Crisis (Mayo Clinic)

Secondary High Blood Pressure: When Another Condition Causes Hypertension (Mayo Clinic)

Reviewed/Updated Date: October 27, 2006
Clinical Advisory Board Sponsor: Dr. James F. Burris
Clinical Subject Matter Experts: Dr. Steven H. Graham, Dr Patel, Dr. Melanie Sberna, Dr. Marianne Shaughnessey
Patient Education Subject Matter Experts: Kitty Toms, Charlene Stokamer

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