What You Should Know About High Blood Pressure

By John Bradstreet

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted against the walls of our arteries. This definition is according to the National Heart Association (AHA). It affects tens of millions of people in this country and about a third of them are not aware that they have this condition. This is why it is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’. When blood pressure is tested it is represented by two numbers called systolic and diastolic. One is created when the heart pumps blood into the circulatory system and the other is the force of the arteries as they resist blood flow.

When you see your blood pressure reading it will look like 120/80 mmHg. The way this is read is 120 over 80. 120 is your systolic number and 80 are the diastolic. This level of 120/80 in considered optimal for adults. Prehypertension is defined as systolic between 120 to 139 mmHg or when diastolic pressure of 80 to 89. Prehypertension is a condition that needs to be monitored. High blood pressure is when your numbers exceed 140 or 90.

Some people find the technical term for high blood pressure which is hypertension to be confusing. It dies not mean that a person is nervous or hyperactive. You can have a very mellow demeanor and have high blood pressure. There are many factors that can result in a high reading. If you experience a high reading this means that you should monitor it. Your primary care provider is the best one to let you know how often it should be checked.

Hypertension can be caused by certain diseases such as diabetes or kidney disease. While in 90 to 95% of cases the exact cause is unknown we do know that certain factors such as weight, race, and heredity present risk factors. The best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a medical professional. It is normally suggested that you have it tested every two years unless something is found that would require more frequent testing. Along with looking for high blood pressure if one has an abnormally low reading this also needs to be evaluated as it may be caused by an underlying medical problem.


One concerning thing about high blood pressure is that initially there are no symptoms. This is the reason that one third of the people that suffer from it are not even aware. The only way to know is to be tested at regular intervals. Hypertension is also known to travel in families. So regular testing is even more important in this situation. People that have extremely high blood pressure may experience symptoms such as severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, problems with vision, chest pain of difficulty breathing. Some other symptoms can be irregular heartbeat, blood in urine and pounding in one’s chest, neck or ears.

It is advised that if you have any of these symptoms you contact your physician immediately. If left untreated they could lead to heart attack or stroke. These symptoms could also be caused by other underlying conditions that need to be checked.

Blood pressure levels are affected by many things such as age, heart condition emotion, and activity level and prescription medication. It is usually necessary to test blood pressure several times before coming up with a typical value.

Your doctor usually requires three elevated readings to come up with a diagnosis of hypertension. He or she may also want to review your medical history. Family history will be evaluated along with risk factors such as smoking, diabetes or history of high cholesterol. A physical exam will be done and your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal sounds in your heart or a whooshing and swishing sound in your arteries would indicate some degree of blockage. If you are diagnosed as having high blood pressure your doctor will probably order additional tests to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

The good news is that while high blood pressure can cause a variety of serious if not fatal medical conditions, once identified it can be very successfully treated. This is why it is important to have it check regularly and avoid such problems

About the Author: John Bradstreet is an experienced Biochemist with extensive knowledge in nutritional supplementation. He is committed to a healthy lifestyle through natural means. To learn more about

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