What Is Hypertension?



Journey into your body to get an inside view of your cardiovascular system—your heart and blood vessels. You’ll see healthy arteries pulsating rhythmically as blood surges through them. Top experts, including Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. John E. Castaldo, talk about what hypertension (high blood pressure) is and how the force of blood from an overworked heart literally tears the lining of your arteries. Witness a beating heart and learn how high blood pressure can lead to atherosclerosis, enlarged heart, heart attack, and stroke. Go inside an eyeball and watch capillaries bursting in the retina due to hypertension. But high blood pressure can be managed. Find out how exercise and the right diet, possibly combined with medication, can prevent hypertension from being the “silent killer.”

High Blood Pressure

Also called: Benign essential hypertension, Essential hypertension, HBP, HTN, Hypertension

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually the systolic number comes before or above the diastolic number. A reading of

  • 119/79 or lower is normal blood pressure
  • 140/90 or higher is high blood pressure
  • Between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number is called prehypertension. Prehypertension means you may end up with high blood pressure, unless you take steps to prevent it.

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, but it can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure.

You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and taking medicines, if needed.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


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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.