What is blood pressure?
is the pressure that blood exerts against the inner walls of the blood vessels as it is pumped through the circulatory system. Normally,
a healthy person has arteries that are strong, flexible and muscular. When the heart contracts, the force of blood against artery walls increases. This force, or pressure,
is called systolic pressure
, and it is the number at the top of a blood pressure reading. By the same token, when the heart relaxes it causes the pressure against artery walls to
decrease. This second pressure is called diastolic pressure
, and is the number at the bottom of a blood pressure reading.
Who can get hypertension?
Anyone can have hypertension, but certain risk factors increase the chances
for a person to become hypertensive. These factors include heredity, gender,
age, race, obesity, and sensitivity to sodium (salt). Other factors include
heavy alcohol consumption, use of oral contraceptives, and sedentary
A 'silent' disease
Fifty percent of patients who have hypertension, or high blood pressure, are
not aware of it because they do not have any outward symptoms. Although
these patients may not feel their disease, hypertension can damage their
bodies in a number of ways. Stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and
blindness are some of the risks that result from hypertension.
Although high blood pressure cannot be cured, it can be controlled with
diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and in some cases medication. Monitor
your blood pressure regularly and be sure to see Dr. Liddell for regular