Hypertension

WHAT IS IT?

High blood pressure (HBP), or hypertension, is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. “Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

Also Known As: High Blood Pressure

BASIC FACTS

“Blood pressure” is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. When this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways. High blood pressure (HBP) is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems.

Categories for High Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (in mmHg, or millimeters of mercury)

     Stage 1

140–159

Or

90–99

     Stage 2

160 or higher

Or

100 or higher

 

CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS

In the United States, about 72 million people have HBP. This is about 1 in 3 adults. Blood pressure tends to rise with age. If you’re a male older than 45 or a female older than 55, your risk for HBP is higher. Over half of all Americans aged 60 and older have HBP. 

Certain medical problems and medicines may cause blood pressure to rise. In some women, blood pressure can go up if they use birth control pills, become pregnant, or take hormone replacement therapy.

Certain traits, conditions, or habits may raise your risk for HBP. These include older age, race/ethnicity, overweight or obesity, gender, unhealthy lifestyle habits, a family history of HBP, long-lasting stress, and having prehypertension (blood pressure levels between 120–139/80–89).

Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits

A number of lifestyle habits can raise your risk for HBP, including:

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Lifestyle Changes

Healthy habits can help you control HBP. Healthy habits include:

Goals of Treatment

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