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High Blood Pressure Facts

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is when the pressure in the arteries is greater than normal. This is typically when the systolic blood pressure (the top number) is greater than 140mmHg and/or the diastolic (the bottom number) is greater than 90.

Is one high blood pressure reading enough to make me have hypertension (high blood pressure)?

No. A single high blood pressure is not significant. Many things cause our blood pressure to increase temporary. A sudden scare, a time of increased stress, an abnormally high sodium meal, and a host of other causes can lead to a temporary high reading. Due to this, high blood pressure is typically diagnosed after three different office visits with an elevated blood pressure reading.

What causes hypertension (high blood pressure)?

Most people have essential hypertension. This type of high blood pressure tends to develop over years as people age. Secondary hypertension is unusual. This type of high blood pressure occurs as a result of some other disease or medication.

What medications are used to treat hypertension?

Many different medications are used in the treatment of high blood pressure. The most common classes of drugs used to treat hypertension are ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, ARBs, diuretics, and other medication classes. All medications have different side effects and adverse effects. Blood pressure medications with the fewest side effects and the greatest benefits are given first. Often times multiple drugs from different classes are needed to control blood pressure. It is important that you review all medications with your doctor before starting any new medications.

What can I do to help control my blood pressure in addition to taking my medication?

One of the most important things that can be done to control hypertension is limiting salt and maintaining an appropriate weight. Regular exercise, weight loss, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake help control high blood pressure.