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Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time. High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke—leading causes of death in the United States.

Who is at risk?

Anyone, including children, can develop it.

Risk Factors

Risk factors beyond your control can increase your risk for high blood pressure, such as your age, sex, and race or ethnicity.

Risk factors within your control to reduce your risk such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, and being physically active.

Signs and Symptoms

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms, so many people don’t realize they have it. That’s why it’s important to visit your doctor regularly. Be sure to talk with your doctor about having your blood pressure checked.How is high blood pressure diagnosed? Your doctor measures your blood pressure by wrapping an inflatable cuff with a pressure gauge around your arm to squeeze the blood vessels. Then he or she listens to your pulse with a stethoscope while releasing air from the cuff. The gauge measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats (systolic) and when it rests (diastolic).

Course of Treatment Suggestions

  • Prescription medications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Decrease caffeine
  • Read food labels for sodium content
  • Exercise at least 30minutes per day, 5 days per week, such as walking
  • Lose weight
  • Decrease stress levels at home, work or personal life

Talk with your doctor about the best ways to reduce your risk for high blood pressure.

For more information: please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at