Hypertension Chapter 1

Hypertension & Your Blood Pressure

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of the circulating blood against the inner walls of your blood vessels. You can feel this force when you take your pulse: what you are feeling is the force of your blood surging through your arteries. Although blood surges through your blood vessels, there is always pressure exerted on their walls. The amount of pressure is determined by how much blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries.

Your blood pressure isn't static. It may go up or down, depending on the time of day, your health, and your level of exertion. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is persistently high pressure in the arteries. Hypertension is called the silent killer because it often has no noticeable symptoms. About one third of adults in the developed world are affected by it.


Hypertension may go unnoticed over a period of years, until a serious problem appears, like heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease. It can permanently damage your eyes, lungs, heart, and kidneys. Without treatment, fewer than 5% of people with malignant (highly elevated) hypertension survive for a year.

More on this topic

What Is Hypertension? (VIDEO)

Hypertension & Your Blood Pressure

Nerve Endings & Blood Pressure

Unhealthy and Healthy Blood Pressure

Types of Hypertension

Dangers of Hypertension

What Causes Hypertension?

Healthy Behavior


Related Health Centers:

Aneurysm and Stent, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Continuum, Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis, Coronary Bypass Surgery, Heart Attack and Angina, Hypertension, Stroke, Thrombosis and Embolism, Women and Cardiovascular Health

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.