High Blood Pressure

(Blood Pressure, High; Essential Hypertension; Idiopathic Hypertension; Primary Hypertension)

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Definition

High blood pressure is abnormally high blood pressure with no known cause. Blood pressure measurements are read as two numbers:
  • Systolic pressure: higher number, normal reading is 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or less
  • Diastolic pressure: lower number, normal reading is 80 mmHg or less
High blood pressure is defined as systolic pressure greater than 140 mmHg and/or diastolic pressure greater than 90 mmHg. You are considered prehypertensive if your systolic blood pressure is between 120-139 mmHg, or your diastolic pressure is between 80- 89 mmHg.High blood pressure puts stress on the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, and blood vessels. Over time, this condition can damage these organs and tissues.
Organs Impacted by High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure and organs
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause of primary hypertension is not known.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure is more common in men, postmenopausal women, older adults, and people of African American descent. Factors that may increase your risk of high blood pressure include:
  • Overweight
  • Heavy drinking of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • High-fat, high-salt diet
  • Stress

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