High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Overview
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The heart pumps blood into the arteries with enough force to push blood to the far reaches of each organ from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet. Blood pressure can be defined as the pressure of blood on the walls of the arteries as it circulates through the body. Blood pressure is highest as its leaves the heart through the aorta and gradually decreases as it enters smaller and smaller blood vessels (arteries, arterioles, and capillaries). Blood returns in the veins leading to the heart, aided by gravity and muscle contraction.
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It is known as the "silent killer" since it has no initial symptoms but can lead to long-term disease and complications..
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff and recorded as two numbers, for example, 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). Blood pressure measurements are usually taken at the upper arm over the brachial artery.
The American Heart Association has recommended guidelines to define normal and high blood pressure.
As many as 60 million Americans have high blood pressure.
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