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Hypertension Causes

Measuring Blood PressureHypertension (high blood pressure) is called a "silent killer" because most people are not aware if they have high blood pressure. If it is not treated, high blood pressure can cause:

  • kidney problems
  • blindness
  • stroke
  • heart attack

Systolic blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your arteries when your heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is not contracting. Typically, a person's blood pressure is written as systolic pressure "/" diastolic pressure. For example, if a person's systolic pressure were 115 and diastolic pressure were 65, then the recorded pressure would be "115/65."

In an adult, if measured blood pressure is greater than 140 for systolic pressure and 90 for diastolic pressure, high blood pressure may be diagnosed. Terms that describe hypertension include

  • "labile," which means that the blood pressure is variable -- sometimes high and sometimes normal.
  • "borderline," which means that the blood pressure is around 140/90.
  • "primary," which means that no cause of high blood pressure is known. Primary hypertension is also termed "essential hypertension" and "idiopathic hypertension." The majority of hypertension is primary hypertension.
  • "secondary," which means that a cause of high blood pressure is known.

More on hypertension: See Hypertension Treatment


What’s Ahead? Because our population is getting older and is also showing effects from being sedentary and overweight, we anticipate the incidence of hypertension will increase. There will be a growing need to prevent and treat this condition. We will be attempting to provide a useful source of information for staying updated on current prevention and treatment approaches.

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The information about senior health presented here is not meant to be medical advice nor to act as a substitute for medical advice. Serious side-effects, including death, could result if one were to take any prescription medicine without the supervision of a physician.

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