Health Video — Understanding High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated.
Blood pressure is measured as systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole) and equate to a maximum and minimum pressure, respectively.
Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading). High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90mmHg.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. The condition itself usually has no signs or symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, high blood pressure can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.
Dietary and lifestyle changes, physical exercise, and weight loss can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you may avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.
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