About 65 million Americans—1 in 3 Americans—have high blood pressure. Blood pressure is defined as the pressure of blood in the vessels as it is pumped throughout the body. There are two numbers that are important: systolic pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading), and diastolic pressure (the bottom number).
Systolic pressure is defined as the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts. Diastolic pressure is the pressure between heartbeats. Systolic pressure is considered high when it surpasses 140 mmHg. Diastolic pressure is considered high when it surpasses 90 mmHg.
Prehypertension is a reading above 120 mmHg / 80 mmHg.
Systolic blood pressure increases with age, and is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Since high blood pressure is a silent illness that produces no symptoms, it is essential to evaluate your blood pressure during all your routine medical evaluations.
Although high blood pressure is most frequently associated with heart disease, it is also a risk factor for kidney dysfunction. Therefore, kidney function should be evaluated routinely in hypertensive patients.
High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney failure.
Additional Information about High Blood Pressure
- Common symptoms of high blood pressure
- Common causes of high blood pressure
- Natural and alternative treatments for high blood pressure
- Dietary and lifestyle recommendations that may help in the treatment of high blood pressure
- Conventional or prescription medications used in the treatment of high blood pressure
- Additional reading for high blood pressure