Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Hypertension is a medical condition in which the pressure within the arteries is elevated. When the heart contracts it pumps blood throughout the body, delivering blood to muscles and organs.
What is Hypertension?
There are two types of blood pressure:
- The systolic blood pressure (the pressure that occurs in the arteries when the heart contracts and presses the blood into the body) which is the maximum pressure generated when the heart contracts
- The diastolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between two heart beats and filled with blood) which is the minimum pressure when the heart relaxes
Systolic blood pressure lower than 120 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure lower than 80 mm Hg
Systolic blood pressure 120-139 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure 80-89 mm Hg
- Stage 1 hypertension:
Systolic blood pressure 140-159 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure 90-99 mm Hg
- Stage 2 hypertension:
systolic blood pressure 160 mm Hg or greater, diastolic blood pressure 100 mm Hg or greater
What causes Hypertension?
In most cases the reason for hypertension is unknown. This type of hypertension is referred to as primary or essential hypertension. When there is a known cause it is referred to as secondary hypertension. Reasons for secondary hypertensions include chronic renal disease, disease of the renal arteries and endocrine disorders.
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