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Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is when the force of the blood pressing against the walls of the arteries is too strong. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart throughout your body. Hypertension forces the heart to work harder to pump blood and may cause the arteries to become narrow or stiff.
For most people, a normal blood pressure is below 120/80. Your personal target blood pressure may vary depending on your medical conditions, your age, and other factors.
Blood pressure is classified into four stages. Based on your blood pressure reading, your health care provider may use the following stages to determine what type of treatment you need, if any. Systolic pressure and diastolic pressure are measured in a unit called millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Hypertension stage 1
Hypertension stage 2
Hypertension can be managed by making lifestyle changes and possibly by taking medicines. Your health care provider will help you make a plan to bring your blood pressure within a normal range. You may be referred for counseling on a healthy diet and physical activity.
Take medicines only as told by your health care provider. Follow the directions carefully. Blood pressure medicines must be taken as told by your health care provider. The medicine does not work as well when you skip doses. Skipping doses also puts you at risk for problems.
You may also need to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your health care provider.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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