When the heart beats, it pumps the blood through the arteries, applying pressure to the artery walls. This is call systolic blood pressure, while diastolic is the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats. High blood pressure means the heart it working extra hard to force blood through arteries and can lead to several health problems, including stroke, kidney failure, heart failure, and coronary heart disease.
Fact 1: Systolic is written before or above the diastolic number, and measured in millimeters of mercury, so a good reading is 120/80 mmHg.
Fact 2: The higher the number goes and the longer a blood pressure stays above 120/80 mmHg, the greater the risk of damaging the heart or blood vessels, which increases the likelihood of long term problems. Â
Fact 3: Children 10 years and younger with high blood pressure are unusual, and there is generally another condition at fault. Kidney disease, for example, can raise the blood pressure in children and that needs to be diagnosed and treated. Different numbers are used for normal blood pressure in children then are used on adults, so a medical professional needs to decide if a child has abnormal blood pressure.
Fact 4: Blood pressure rises with age, medical condition, and certain medicines. It is possible to have low blood pressure, which is not quite as bad as high blood pressure.
Fact 5: High blood pressure has no symptoms that people can notice and take to a doctor for diagnosis. This is why most health care professionals take blood pressure automatically when a patient visits them.
Fact 6: High blood pressure can be alleviated by changes in lifestyle, and prevented if these changes are made before the official diagnosis and need for medication. A healthy diet, plenty of exercise, stopping smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight will help to manage blood pressure problems as well as helping an individual cope with stress, which can aggravate high blood pressure.
Fact 7: Up to the age of 64 men are more likely to have high blood pressure, but after 65 women take up that role. The blood pressure of women changes over their lifetimes because of many factors including pregnancy, using birth control pills, or taking hormone therapy after menopause.
Fact 8: 1 in 3 Americans has high blood pressure, but 1 in 3 of them are not aware of their blood pressure issues. When combined with the lack of symptoms, this gives rise to the nickname of high blood pressure as the ‘˜silent killer’.
Fact 9: Blood pressure changes naturally during the lifetime, but also during the day. Blood pressure is lower when a person is asleep and higher after a physically or emotionally stressful event.
Fact 10: High blood pressure is called hypertension in medical terminology, and is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease worldwide. When combined with other diseases, such as diabetes, the patient has a higher risk of complications from either disease.
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