High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls during the course of a day. Eating, drinking, walking, running, sitting, and laughing can lower or raise your blood pressure. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure.
The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure will make your heart work harder. This is dangerous because if your heart works too hard, it will contribute to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure can cause other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.
You have high blood pressure if you have a level of 140/90 mmHg or higher. About two-thirds of people over age 65 have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg, you have prehypertension and should start to monitor blood pressure levels. This means that you don't have high blood pressure now but are likely to develop it in the future. You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. See your doctor and discuss dietary habits befor eyou are required to take medicinal remedies.
High blood pressure increases your chances of getting heart and/or kidney disease, and for having a stroke. It is especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. This is why high blood pressure is often referred to as "The Silent Killer." Regardless of race, age, or gender, anyone can develop high blood pressure. It is estimated that one in every four American adults has high blood pressure. Once high blood pressure develops, it usually lasts a lifetime.
Those who do not have high blood pressure by age 55 face a 90% chance of developing it during their lifetimes. So high blood pressure is a condition that most people have at some point in their lives.
Both numbers in a blood pressure test are important, but for people who are 50 or older, systolic pressure gives the most accurate diagnosis of high blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading. It is high if it is 140 mmHg or above.