What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood.
High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – is a disease in which blood flows through blood vessels (arteries) at a higher than normal pressure.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers. The first, or top number, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The second, or bottom number, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. The bottom number is the lower of the two and is called the diastolic pressure.
Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high (stage 1) if it reads 140/90. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 160/100 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered “hypertensive crisis.”
Readings between 120/80 and 139/89 are considered pre-hypertension. People with pre-hypertension do not have blood pressure as low as it should be, but are not yet considered to have high blood pressure.
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