With each beat of the heart, blood is pumped out of the heart into the blood vessels, which carry blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure or force inside your blood vessels (arteries) with each heartbeat.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means that pressure in the arteries is above the normal range.
Did You Know?
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, at no cost to you. Learn more.
Blood pressure is written as two numbers, such as 120/80 or 150/95, for example. The first number is the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills the arteries with blood. The second number is the diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats and fills with blood.
Peripheral vascular disease: lack of blood circulation in the legs, cramp-like pain in the calves (claudication), or aneurysm (abnormal enlargement or bulging of an artery caused by damage to or weakness in the blood vessel wall)
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated?
The goal of therapy, if you have high blood pressure, is to lower blood pressure to less than 140/90 (less than 130/80 for those who also have diabetes or kidney disease). To do this: