High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition. Having high blood pressure means the pressure of the blood in your blood vessels is higher than it should be.
- 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.
- This common condition increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Signs & Symptoms
- High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
- Rarely, high blood pressure can cause symptoms like headaches or vomiting.
- There’s only one way to know whether you have high blood pressure—have a doctor or other health professional measure 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 harden your arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and lead 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, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities, and a stroke can kill you.
- Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those without these diseases.
- Health conditions (prehypertension, diabetes)
- Lifestyle (unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use)
- Family history (past family history of hypertension)
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. A healthy lifestyle includes:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Getting enough physical activity.
- Not smoking.
- Limiting alcohol use.