High blood pressure can damage vital organs

(Wisconsin Rapids Tribune) — Everybody has, and needs, blood pressure. Without it, blood can’t circulate through your body and provide essential nutrients to your vital organs. The problem is that about one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health problems.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood. Blood pressure numbers include systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic blood pressure measures when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. You will most often see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury — the units used to measure blood pressure.)

A reading of 120-139/89 is considered “prehypertension,” which means you’re likely to end up with high blood pressure unless you take steps to prevent it. If you are an adult, and your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure. Any reading above 160/100 is Stage 2 hypertension, an extremely serious situation.

High blood pressure, which we refer to as hypertension, by itself usually has no symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, it can cause irreparable damage to vital organs in your body. This is why monitoring your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you’re feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, you need treatment to prevent damage to your body’s organs.


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