What is High Blood Pressure?

What is High Blood Pressure?

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure the heart generates, and the pressure within vessel, when the heart is beating. Systolic pressure is the pressure generated when the heart is contracting and pumping to the rest of the body. Diastolic pressure is the pressure generated when the heart is relaxing and filling with blood. Overall “blood pressure” is expressed by the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. This overall pressure can then be expressed as mean arterial pressure (MAP), which is the average arterial pressure throughout one cardiac cycle (systole + diastole).

Types of High Blood Pressure

There are 3 types of high blood pressure; elevated blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension. Having hypertension can lead to a poor prognosis, even if you are asymptomatic. By implementing lifestyle changes and medication (if prescribed by your medical provider), complications and poor prognosis can be avoided.

  • Normal Blood Pressure:
  • Systolic: < 120
  • Diastolic: < 80
  • Treatment: None, continue lifestyle efforts
  • Elevated Blood Pressure:
  • Systolic: 120 – 129
  • Diastolic: < 80
  • Treatment: Healthy lifestyle changes
  • Stage 1 Hypertension:
  • Systolic: 130 – 139
  • Diastolic: 80 – 89
  • Treatment: Consider medication, continue lifestyle efforts
  • Stage 2 Hypertension:
  • Systolic: > 140
  • Diastolic: > 90
  • Treatment: Consider medication, continue lifestyle efforts
Cardiology. Mexican doctor measuring blood pressure of senior woman, checking patient, free space, panorama

Symptoms of Hypertension

  • Headache
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Visual symptoms
  • No symptoms (asymptomatic)

How to prevent a diagnosis of stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension?

  • Regular aerobic exercise, and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Limit intake of salt, alcoholic beverages, and saturated fats
  • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables 
  • Avoid smoking

What medications are used to treat stage 1 or stage 2 hypertension?

Antihypertensive medications may be used in patients with hypertension. Patients with diabetes, kidney disease or heart problems may be treated more aggressively and at lower thresholds, as they have higher risks of complications. Some of the most common medications used to treat hypertension include…

  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin-receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers


  • Blood Pressure Overview:
  • Blood pressure is the heart-generated pressure in vessels during beats.
  • Systolic pressure is during contraction, diastolic is during relaxation.
  • Overall, expressed as systolic over diastolic; mean arterial pressure is the average.
  • High Blood Pressure Types:
  • Elevated, Stage 1, and Stage 2 hypertension levels exist.
  • Even asymptomatic, hypertension can lead to poor outcomes.
  • Lifestyle changes and prescribed medication help prevent complications.
  • Preventing Hypertension Diagnosis:
  • Regular aerobic exercise, maintain healthy weight.
  • Limit salt, alcohol, and saturated fats; increase fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid smoking for hypertension prevention.
  • Medications for Hypertension:
  • Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin-receptor blockers, Calcium channel blockers are common.
  • Aggressive treatment for patients with diabetes, kidney, or heart issues due to higher complications risk.

This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.

There’s nothing more important than our good health – that’s our principal capital asset.

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