What You Should Know About High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
The amount of blood flowing through your blood vessels and the degree of resistance the blood encounters when the heart pumps are both taken into account when calculating your blood pressure.
When your blood’s power pushing through your veins is regularly too high, you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The fundamentals of hypertension, including its signs, causes, treatments, and more, will be covered in this article.
High blood pressure: what is it?
Blood flow is more difficult to go via arteries and other narrow blood vessels. Your blood pressure will increase when your arteries become narrower due to increased resistance. Long-term, the elevated pressure might lead to health problems like heart disease.
It’s not unusual to have hypertension. In fact, since the recommendations changed in 2017, this illness could now be diagnosed in close to half of American adults.
Usually, hypertension develops over a period of years. Typically, no symptoms are present. High blood pressure can harm your blood vessels and organs, particularly the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys, even if you don’t experience any symptoms.
Early identification is crucial. By taking routine blood pressure readings, you and your doctor can keep track of any changes. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor might have you check it over a few weeks to determine if it stays high or returns to normal ranges.
Both prescription medicine and healthy lifestyle modifications are used to treat hypertension. Untreated conditions might result in health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
How to interpret measurements of high blood pressure
A blood pressure reading is produced from two numbers. The top figure, the systolic pressure, represents the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps blood through them. The measurement of the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats is called diastolic pressure (bottom number).
Adult blood pressure readings fall into one of five categories:
- Healthy: A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
- Elevated: The systolic number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually don’t treat elevated blood pressure with medication. Instead, your doctor may encourage lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
- Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
- Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires urgent medical attention. If any symptoms like chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes occur when blood pressure is this high, medical care in the emergency room is needed.
A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff. For an accurate reading, it’s important you have a cuff that fits. An ill-fitting cuff may deliver inaccurate readings.
Blood pressure readings are different for children and teenagers. Ask your child’s doctor for the healthy ranges for your child if you’re asked to monitor their blood pressure.