White Paper: Hypertension

Your heart pumping puts pressure on the arterial walls. When the pressure is increased over time its called hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure can lead to serious complications such as stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. Higher-than-optimal blood pressure is the number one attributable risk for death throughout the world and approximately 7.1 million deaths per year world- wide are attributed to uncontrolled hypertension. In the United States, 50 million people have hypertension and 31% don’t know they have it. Hypertension played a role in over 150,000 deaths per year in the U.S.

Hypertension is frequently referred to as a silent disease because it doesn’t have any symptoms until there is serious physical damage. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower; the upper number is the systolic pressure and the bottom number is diastolic pressure. Hypertension is when the systolic pressure is 140 or higher or the diastolic pressure is 90 or greater (Stevens LM, Lynm C, and Glass RM. Hypertension. JAMA 299, 2914, 2008).

See your doctor regularly and have your blood pressure monitored. There is no cure for hypertension but there are things you can do to keep it under control:

For more information visit the American Heart website.