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High Blood Pressure


Updated February 15, 2014

blood pressure test

A simple test at your doctor's office can determine if you have high blood pressure.

Image: A.D.A.M.

Definition: High blood pressure refers to a health condition in which the heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your arteries, which increases your chance of stroke and heart attack. High blood pressure is twice as common in obese adults than those of a healthier weight. One in three adults suffers from high blood pressure.

Optimal blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure occurs when blood pressure is equal to 140/90 mmHg.

A condition referred to as prehypertension occurs when blood pressure between 120 and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom number. Blood pressure in the prehypertension range makes you more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Also Known As: hypertension

Examples: When April's blood pressure measured 124 for the top number and 85 for the bottom number, her doctor diagnosed her with prehypertension, which increases her risk for high blood pressure.

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