High Blood Pressure

The Silent Killer

Did you know...

  • It is estimated that as many as 50 million Americans have hypertension, or high blood pressure as it is more commonly called?
  • More than 1/3 don't even know that they have it, and
  • Only about 21% are taking adequate steps to keep it under control!

What is High Blood Pressure?

Hypertension is the medical term for what most people call High Blood Pressure. Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood flowing against artery walls. A blood pressure reading involves two numbers, which are separated by a slash mark. The first corresponds to systolic pressure, which occurs when the heart is actively pumping. The second corresponds to diastolic pressure, or pressure on the arteries when the heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is usually considered 120/80. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has published the following standards for assessment of high blood pressure:

Category Systolic Diastolic
Normal < 130 < 85
High Normal 130-139 85-89

   Stage 1 (Mild)

140-159 90-99

   Stage 2 (Moderate)

160-179 100-109

   Stage 3 (Severe)

180-209 110-119

   Stage 4 (Very Severe)

>=210 >=120

It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor. High blood pressure can most often be controlled through medication, exercise, diet, or some combination of these actions.

New Advisory On Systolic Blood Pressure »