What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, refers to blood pushing against the walls of the arteries with chronically elevated force. Blood pressure that rises above normal levels and remains high can lead to serious health problems including heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure as well as other health problems.
High blood pressure is defined as a reading above 140/90 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). In blood pressure measurement the top number, known as the systolic pressure, represents the pressure within the arteries when the heart contracts, or “beats” while pumping blood. The second number, diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats and fills with blood.