High blood pressure or hypertension is what is defined as high pressure in the arteries. Arteries are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When a person’s blood pressure is high it does not mean excessive emotional tension like many think. Emotional tension and stress can increase the blood pressure but it is not the source of high blood pressure. Some doctors do think that prolonged or constant stress, however may contribute to hypertension.
A normal blood pressure is defined as below 120/80. Of your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89 it is showing the beginning signs of high blood pressure and is called “pre-hypertension”. If your blood pressure is hovering at approximately 140/90 or above it is considered high blood pressure and you should seek medical attention in order to control it.
According to the American Medical Association, the systolic blood pressure, the top number, is the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure, the bottom number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction.
When there is a rise in either the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure there is increased risk of developing long term health issues. A few of the diseases that someone with high blood pressure can develop are heart disease, kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, eye damage and stroke. It is because of the possibility of the development of these conditions that the diagnosis of high blood pressure is important. According to the AMA hypertension affects approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States making it one of the leading health problems.
There are two forms of high blood pressure; the first is essential (or primary) hypertension. Essential hypertension is more common condition and accounts for 95 percent of hypertension. There are several factors that produce hypertension and essential hypertension affects approximately 75 million Americans. It is not known what the causes of this form of hypertension are. There are some apparent clues to the causes such as a fairly high intake of salt, exceeding 5.8 grams daily. It is believe among the medical community that excess salt may be involved in the hypertension that is associated with advancing age, African American background, obesity, hereditary susceptibility, and kidney failure.
The second form of hypertension is secondary hypertension. In secondary hypertension, which accounts for 5 percent of hypertension, the high blood pressure is secondary to a specific abnormality in one of the organs or systems of the body such as such as the kidney, adrenal gland, or aortic artery.
Combating high blood pressure takes a lifestyle change. Limiting salt, alcohol and caffeine intake appears to help. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps. Whatever the situation, those who have high blood pressure need to be under a doctor’s care.