|High blood pressure is a
blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher. Both numbers
Once high blood pressure develops, it usually lasts a lifetime.
The good news is that it can be treated and controlled.
High blood pressure is called "the silent killer"
because it usually presents with no symptoms. Some people
may not find out they have it until they have trouble with
their heart, brain or kidneys. When high blood pressure is
not found and treated, it can cause:
- The heart to enlarge and weaken, which may lead to heart
- Kidney failure
- Blood vessels in the eyes to burst or bleed, which may
cause vision changes and result in blindness
What is blood pressure?
Blood is carried from the heart to all parts of your body
in vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force of
the blood pushing against walls of the arteries. Each time
the heart beats (about 60-70 times a minute at rest); it pumps
out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its
highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called
systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats,
your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
Blood pressure is always given as these two numbers, the
systolic and diastolic pressures. Both are important. Usually
they are written one above or before the other, such as 120/80
mmHg. The top number is the systolic and the bottom the diastolic.
When the two measurements are written down, the systolic pressure
is the first or top number, and the diastolic pressure is
the second or bottom number (for example, 120/80). If your
blood pressure is 120/80, you say that it is "120 over