High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other very serious medical conditions.
“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.
About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has HBP. The condition itself usually has no signs or symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, HBP can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.
Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you are feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent damage to your body’s organs.
Blood pressure numbers
Blood pressure is measured as systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-ah-STOL-ik) pressures. “Systolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. “Diastolic” refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.)
The table below shows normal blood pressure numbers for adults. It also shows which numbers put you at greater risk of getting health problems.
The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who do not have short-term serious illnesses.
Categories for blood pressure levels in adults (measured in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg)
Blood pressure does not stay the same all the time. It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you are excited, nervous or active. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you are at risk of health problems. The risk grows as blood pressure numbers rise. “Prehypertension” means you may end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it.
Blood pressure tends to rise with age. People who have HBP can take steps to control it and reduce their risk for related health problems. Key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, having ongoing medical care and following your treatment plan.
The main reasons for handicap in adults, and the fourth dominant reason of death in America is the stroke. Stroke is a grave medical condition and it happens when there is not blood supply to certain part of the brain.
The strokes can be of two types, ischemic and hemorrhagic. Caused by reduction or barring of canals to your mind, the more common strokes are the ischemic and they can lead to gravely reduced blood flow. Induced by hemorrhaging in the brain, hemorrhagic strokes are not that common.
Recognizing the manifestation of a stroke therefore obtaining medical help is of great importance in order to diminish the risk of serious damage to the mind. The risk of death and handicap can be lowered and it can increase the chances of recovery.
The symptoms and signs can have different manifestation depending on the type of the stroke, the affected brain part and the seriousness of the damage. Nevertheless, they have the tendency to happen without warning.
Here are some of the signs:
If you feel your face, arm or leg numb specifically on one of the sides of your body If you have trouble walking and you lose control and balance If you have trouble speaking or understanding what others are saying