High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a problem that affects the arteries in your body. Blood pressure is the ratio of how much blood your heart pumps to the resistance of blood flow. When a person has high blood pressure, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body because there is more resistance in the arteries.
High blood pressure is measured in systolic (the pressure when your heart beats) and diastolic (the pressure when your heart is resting) rates. A normal blood pressure has a systolic measure of 120 and a diastolic measure of 80. High blood pressure levels start at 140 over 90.
Usually, there are not many symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is known as a silent killer. Some people may feel shortness of breath with minimal exertion or have frequent headaches or nosebleeds. However, these symptoms usually occur whenever high blood pressure has reached a very high and life-threatening level.
There is no one identifiable cause of high blood pressure in adults. Typical risk factors include smoking, being overweight and sedentary, consuming too much salt and alcohol, stress, and getting older.
Genetics also play an important role in blood pressure. If you have a family history of hypertension, then you will be much more likely to develop it yourself. Certain disease and their treatments can cause high blood pressure, including kidney disease, thyroid disorders, and sleep apnea.
Changing your lifestyle by eating healthier and exercising is the best way to treat high blood pressure. Doctors may also prescribe certain medications such as thiazide diuretics or beta blockers to help lower your levels.
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