Overview

High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition for American adults. Having high blood pressure indicates that the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is much higher than it should be. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.


Basics

High Blood Pressure:
  • Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to the other parts of your body.
  • It is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. However, if blood pressure stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and lead to health problems.
  • High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease and stroke.
High Blood Pressure Signs and Symptoms:
  • High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms.
  • High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” as many people don’t know they have it. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have your doctor or other heath professional check it. For more information see the Measuring blood pressure resource from the CDC. 
Effects of High Blood Pressure:
  • Decreased blood flow to the heart. High blood pressure can roughen your arteries which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. Decreased blood flow can also lead to chest pain, heart failure or a heart attack.
  • High blood pressure can burst or block arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, leading to a stroke. A stroke can cause serious disabilities in movement, speech and other basic functions.
  • Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
Risk Factors:
  • Health conditions (prehypertension, diabetes)
  • Lifestyle (unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use)
  • Family history (past family history of hypertension)

Spokane or Washington Specific Data


Recommendations

High blood pressure is dangerous because it increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. The best way to prevent high blood pressure is to live a healthy life and manage any preexisting health conditions you have.

  • Healthy diet
  • Healthy weight
  • Adequate physical activity
  • No smoking

Related Facts

1 of 3 U.S. adults or about 70 million people have high blood pressure (CDC)

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