High blood pressure (HBP) is a common condition and needs to be treated and managed. It is one of those conditions often referred to as the silent killer.
High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Arteries are vessels that carry blood from the pumping heart to all the tissues and organs of the body. HBP does not always mean excessive emotional tension, although emotional tension and stress can temporarily increase blood pressure.
When measuring blood pressure (BP), the top number of the reading is the systolic blood pressure and it corresponds to the highest pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts when pumping blood into the arteries. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, represents the lowest pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after it has contracted. It was previously thought that rises in diastolic blood pressure were a more important risk factor than systolic elevations, but it is now known that in people 50 years or older systolic hypertension represents as greater risk. BP can rise gradually with age.
Persistent hypertension is one of the risk factors for strokes, which can cause brain damage and heart attacks. It also increases the risk of heart failure, of developing heart (cardiac) disease, the hardening of the arteries, arterial aneurysm, atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis, eye damage and is a leading cause of chronic renal failure. These complications of hypertension are often referred to as end-organ damage because damage to these organs is the end result of chronic (long duration) high blood pressure. For that reason, the diagnosis of HBP is important so efforts can be made to normalize blood pressure (BP) and prevent complications. Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure can lead to shortened life expectancy. Cardio vascular disease (CVD) risks double for each increment of 20/10 points.