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Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is created by two forces:

      1)         The heart as it forces the blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system

      2)         The arteries as they resist the flow of blood

The blood pressure creates two pressures (numbers):

      1)         Systolic – represents the pressure when the heart is contracting to pump blood. This is the top                number

      2)         Diastolic – represents the pressure when the heart is relaxing between beats. This is the bottom              number

Hypertension is a term used to describe high blood pressure.

The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) has developed the following classifications of blood pressure:

      1)         Normal BP =  < 120 mm Hg systolic and  < 80 mm Hg diastolic ( less than 120/80)

      2)         Prehypertension = systolic BP 120-139 mm Hg or diastolic 80-89 mm Hg

      3)         Stage 1 HTN = systolic BP 140-159 mm Hg or diastolic 90-99 mm Hg

      4)         Stage 2 HTN = systolic BP ≥ 160 mm Hg or diastolic BP ≥ 100 mm Hg

These factors contribute to HTN:

      1)         Smoking

      2)         Overweight or obese

      3)         Lack of physical activity (exercise)

      4)         Too much salt in the diet

      5)         Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1-2 drinks per day)

      6)         Stress

      7)         Old age

      8)         Genetics

      9)         Family history of HTN

      10)     Chronic kidney disease

      11)     Adrenal and thyroid disorders

      12)     Oral contraceptives, NSAIDs, decongestants, steroids

HTN is dangerous and is sometimes called the “silent killer” because of the lack of symptoms related to this condition. Most common symptom experienced is a headache. Uncontrolled HTN could lead to the following:

      1)        Stroke

      2)         Coronary Artery Disease
        a) Heart attack
        b) Heart Failure

Kidney failure

         1) Lose weight if overweight

         2) Limit alcohol intake

         3) Exercise regularly

         4) Reduce salt intake

         5) Stop smoking

          6) See your healthcare provider regularly to monitor your                             blood pressure