High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. According to the American Hospital Association website, one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, and only one-third of those know it. There are usually no symptoms associated with having high blood pressure and many people have it for years without knowing it!

High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal and when the heart has to work harder than normal for a long period of time it can cause the heart to become weaker. Blood vessels also can be damaged by high blood pressure and become stiff and less flexible. High blood pressure that is not treated or not in good control can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes and other organs.

When your heart beats it pumps blood through your body. This causes a force in the blood vessels called blood pressure. High blood pressure means that the force is too high. 

Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers—systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom) pressure.  

Systolic pressure = when the heart beats
Diastolic pressure = when the heart relaxes between beats

Here are the ranges your doctor will look at to determine the health of your blood pressure:

Healthy            below 120/80
Borderline        120/80 to 139/89
High                140/90 or above

The only way to really know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure is and if there are steps you need to take to help manage your blood pressure.

Next Topic: Hyperlipidemia (High Cholesterol)

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