High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Blood pressure readings consist of an upper number and a lower number (such as 120 over 90 or 120/90). High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. You have high blood pressure if your top number is 140 or higher or your bottom number is 90 or higher, or both.

When blood pressure is high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. This can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other problems.

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It can be managed with lifestyle changes and medicines.

Current as of: January 27, 2016

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology