High blood pressure is leading more people to serious health concerns than any other condition.

But it remains misunderstood for so many people despite its rampant damage. We wanted to shed a little light on what is high blood pressure to help folks understand the importance of maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

What is High Blood Pressure: A General Definition

High blood pressure (HBP), otherwise known as hypertension, is when your blood pressure is too high on a daily or consistent basis.

Medical description of What is High Blood Pressure

The American Heart Association (AHA) describes how blood pressure and the circulatory system work. “In order to survive and function properly, your tissues and organs need the oxygenated blood that your circulatory system carries throughout the body.

When the heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes blood through a network of tube-shaped blood vessels, which include arteries, veins and capillaries. This pressure–blood pressure–is the result of two forces: The first force (systolic pressure) occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force (diastolic pressure) is created as the heart rests between heart beats. (1)

What is High Blood Pressure: Blood Pressure Readings

The two pressures mentioned above are represented by numbers in a blood pressure reading. The systolic pressure number is given first and the diastolic pressure second in readings. A normal blood pressure reading is when the systolic pressure is less than 120 and the diastolic pressure is less than 80. Stage 1 of high blood pressure is when the systolic pressure (mm Hg) is over 130 with the diastolic pressure (mm Hg) over 80. The chart below which is found on www.heart.org breaks down each stage.

Blood Pressure Chart

How many people have high blood pressure?

According to the American Heart Association, in the United States, approximately 85 million people have high blood pressure which is about 1 in every 3 adults. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that about two-thirds of Americans over 65 have high blood pressure.

Affects of high blood pressure

Most people with high blood pressure will not experience any symptoms. This is why it is often called the “silent killer”. If high blood pressure is not controlled and/or treated, it can cause many serious health issues including vision loss, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

This is precisely why every adult should have their blood pressure checked at an annual physical appointment with a medical professional.