What is High Blood Pressure – Hypertension

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension.

The heart pumps blood around the body through the blood vessels. Blood pressure is the amount of force exerted on the artery walls by the pumping blood. In case of high blood pressure the blood is pumped through the arteries with a force that is higher than normal.

High blood pressure is a common disorder of the circulatory system. Your blood pressure is naturally higher when you are involved in physical exertion or sudden emotional disturbances like watching a horror movie that terrifies you. It is only a concern if your blood pressure is high when you are at rest, because this means your heart is overworked and your arteries have extra stress in their walls.

Systolic and Diastolic blood pressure

A pressure measuring instrument called sphygmomanometer is used in the measurement of blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is defined as the pressure of blood within your arteries during a contraction of the heart. The diastolic blood pressure is defined as the pressure of blood within the arteries when the heart is at rest. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

Range of normal blood pressure

Normal level of blood pressure is 120/80 mm of Hg. When the blood pressure is just below this range it is defined as normal blood pressure. When a person ‘s blood pressure is in the range of 120/80 mm of Hg and 140/90 mm of Hg then it is termed as higher than normal blood pressure. If a person‘s systolic blood pressure exceeds 140 mm of Hg and diastolic pressure exceeds 90 mm of Hg then he is diagnosed to be suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure.

It is recommended that one should not drink caffeine or smoke at least 2 hours before taking the reading as this can cause an increase in the blood pressure readings. In many cases the person shows elevated blood pressure readings at the doctor’s clinic but when the reading is taken again at home they show the reading to be normal. This has been found to be related to anxiety associated with checkup and it is fairly common.

Types of high blood pressure

Depending on the severity of high blood pressure it is classified into three main types- mild, moderate and severe hypertension.

Importance of routine medical checkups

High blood pressure usually does not produce any symptoms in the affected individual. Hence it is important to undergo routine medical checkups for an early diagnosis of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for cardiac disease and stroke. Hence regular monitoring of blood pressure is essential. Regular monitoring also helps in altering the line of treatment in case the blood pressure is elevated even after taking anti-hypertensive medications or in case of sudden emotional disturbances. High blood pressure may also be associated with other medical conditions like increased cholesterol levels and arteriosclerosis which is disease causing thickening of the inner lining of arteries.

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