Overview Of High Blood Pressure

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 - 10:27am

By Rose Giordano

According to the American Heart Association, nearly one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure (i.e. hypertension). Since there are no symptoms associated with having high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these people don't know they have it. Living with uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, or even kidney failure.

Blood pressure explained

Blood pressure is created every time your heart beats—as your heart pumps blood into your arteries, it creates pressure inside of them. Blood pressure is important because it is how your blood is circulated throughout your body.

Blood pressure is expressed by two separate numbers in the form of a fraction: for example, 130/75 (130 over 75). Here’s what these specific numbers mean:

  • The top number (130). This number represents your systolic blood pressure, the pressure in the blood vessels when your heart contracts and pumps blood through your body.
  • The bottom number (75). This number is your diastolic blood pressure, which represents the time your heart rests between beats and fills up with blood.

For further information on the blood pressure tests and results see the following article from TheDietChannel: What is Hypertension?

What is normal blood pressure? 

The following is the American Heart Association’s guidelines on blood pressure:

Systolic (mmHg)

Diastolic (mmHg)

Normal Blood Pressure

less than 120

less than 80




High Blood Pressure


Stage 1



State 2

160 or higher

100 or higher

Causes of high blood pressure

Most causes of high blood pressure are still unclear. However, high blood pressure has been associated with obesity, inactivity, excess alcohol, or a family history of high blood pressure. Fortunately, it is easily detected and treatable. The bad news is that there are still a number of people who suffer from hypertension and are unaware they have it.

Unless blood pressure is checked regularly, the development of hypertension can go undetected. For this reason it is referred to as a silent killer, since it typically does not cause any symptoms.