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Cardiovascular Health
Medical Terminology

What is high blood pressure?


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Wiki User
August 16, 2015 10:09AM

High blood pressure is the force that blood exerts in blood vessels when the heart contracts and relaxes. The systolic pressure is the force by blood being pumped by the heart, and the diastolic pressure is the force when the ventricles are refilled by blood.

High blood pressure means that the heart needs more pressure in order to contract and relax, therefore straining your heart and putting you at a higher risk of having a heart attack.

Bill Nye once said in one of his episodes that garlic can help soothe high blood pressure.

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Wiki User
January 16, 2012 3:13PM

High blood pressure is defined as excessive pressure in the arteries. The condition is dangerous and can be life-threatening. If the condition is not treated, it can cause serious, permanent damage to the arteries and heart. Untreated high blood pressure can result in a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors will monitor a person's blood pressure to determine the systolic and diastolic numbers. The systolic number is always higher than the diastolic. Systolic pressure is taken when the heart beats, and the diastolic number is taken between the heartbeats. Doctors will gauge the seriousness of a person's blood pressure by comparing readings to a chart. One reading with high numbers is not indicative of high blood pressure. Doctors may ask a patient to have their blood pressure tested several times a day over several days or weeks.

High blood pressure is generally diagnosed when a person has a systolic reading or what is easily remembered as the top number, that exceeds more than 140. However, the top number alone does not indicate high blood pressure. If the bottom number, diastolic, is higher than 90 over a period of time, a doctor will begin to take necessary action.

A blood pressure of 160/100 or higher is considered to be in the danger zone. Doctors will most likely prescribe medication to try and lower the blood pressure. A change in diet and exercise habits will also be initiated. Typically, salt intake reduction is one of the first steps to reducing blood pressure. Stress can cause blood pressure to rise. Doctors will often urge a person to try and reduce the amount of stress he or she is under.

High blood pressure may also be referred to as hypertension. A person may be genetically predisposed to having high blood pressure. If this is the case, doctors will regularly monitor a person's blood pressure and dole out advice that may prevent the condition. Men are more likely to develop high blood pressure. Age, race and lifestyle all influence a person's risk of developing high blood pressure.