What is High Blood Pressure?

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Blood pressure (BP) is the force created as the heart pumps blood through the blood vessels.  When blood pressure stays elevated over a long period of time, an individual is diagnosed as having high blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension.

Hypertension is one of the common diseases these days.  It usually shows no symptoms and can affect people of all ages, and it is one of the risk factors for stroke, kidney disease, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and renal failure.

However, you can take action to prevent or control it by having a healthy diet plan and making adjustment to your lifestyle.


High Blood Pressure Chart

HBP is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to hardening of the arteries.

So, at what level of blood pressure is hypertension? 

A normal blood pressure consists of 2 numbers such as 120/80.

The first number refers to the systolic pressure and the second to the diastolic.  These numbers measure your heart in its pumping and resting stages.

Systolic blood pressure:  The first number measures the force while your heart is at the pumping stage.  A normal pressure is 120mmHg or below.

Diastolic blood pressure:  The second number measures the force while your heart is at rest - between the heart pump.  A normal pressure is 80mmHg or below.

A BP of more than 140/90 is considered as HBP.  

Understand the Blood Pressure Reading

Category Systolic (Top Number) Diastolic (Bottom Number)
Normal < 120 < 80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89
HBP Stage 1 140-159 90-99
HBP Stage 2 >160 >100

It has been shown that early treatment of lowering blood pressure can reduce the chances of:

  • Stroke to 35-40%
  • Heart attack to 20-25%
  • Heart failure by 50%

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Who is at Risk of Having HBP?

History of close blood relative or family member who suffers from hypertension
You are overweight
You smoke consistently
You love to eat salty and oily food
You have more than 2 alcoholic drink each day
You are under stress constantly 
You are constantly under disturbances of noise like loud music, noisy pubs, rowdy parties or barking dogs in your neighbourhood or house

If you have family member or close blood relative who suffers from hypertension, cardiovascular disease or stroke, it is important for you to check your blood pressure regularly at home.

It has been seem that individual with HBP has 3 times the risk of having stroke.  Many patients with hypertension have no symptoms until they suffer a heart attack or stroke.  It is a "silent killer".  It is therefore imperative to monitor your blood pressure if you have hypertension.  

It is highly recommended to get a blood pressure monitor at home for regular self check.  Read more here for why getting a blood pressure checker at home is important and how to choose the right device for your own use.

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Effects of HBP

Heart Attack
The arteries bring oxygen carrying blood to the heart muscle.  High blood pressure can cause the blockage of arteries.  If the heart cannot get enough oxygen chest pain can occur.  If the flow of blood is blocked, heart attack can occur.

Heart Failure
It results when the affected heart pumps too hard for too long.  This leads to a decreased efficiency of the heart and can eventually lead to failure. 

Stroke
Stroke can occur due to the blockage of arteries in the brain.  The blockage limits the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, leading to death of cells.

Blindness
High blood pressure can cause the blood vessels in the back of eye become blocked or burst.  Vision may become blur or impaired and can result in blindness.

Kidney Disease
Kidney acts as filter to get rid the body waste.  High blood pressure can narrow and thicken the blood vessels of the kidney.  Eventually, the kidney filters less waste product from your body and becomes malfunction.  Accumulation of extra fluid can further raise your blood pressure.  

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News from Google and Yahoo

Health News on HBP/ Hypertension from Google

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Health News on HBP/ Hypertension from Yahoo

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