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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the
force of blood against artery walls is too strong. Over time, high blood
pressure can damage the arteries, heart, and kidneys and can lead to heart
disease and stroke.
High blood pressure can be treated effectively with lifestyle
changes and medications that can reduce the risk of complications.
Blood pressure readings consist of an upper number and a lower
number (such as 120 over 90 or 120/90). The upper number is systolic blood
pressure; the lower number is diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure readings
are measured in units called millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal blood
pressure is 119 mm Hg systolic over 79 mm Hg diastolic or below.
A person has high blood pressure (hypertension) when either or both
of the following are present:
April 10, 2009
Robin Parks, MS
Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology & Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition
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