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Why is High Blood Pressure a Problem?

The Silent Killer

High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when our blood pressure, the force of our blood pushing against the walls of our blood vessels, is consistently too high. Hypertension starts at 140/90 – if either number is higher than that, it's too high.

Continual high pressure increases the workload of the heart and blood vessels, making them work harder than they're built to. Over time this tears and scars artery walls, bad cholesterol (LDL) accumulates, the vessels get smaller and stiffer, the heart has to work even harder – it's a vicious cycle that leads to stroke, heart attack and other vascular disease.

If we drop 20 mm Hg from our Systolic blood pressure (the first value) or 10 mm Hg from our Diastolic pressure (the second value), we halve our risk of these problems. Depending on our age, we also halve our risk of dying prematurely.

The risk of dying early is bad enough, but our general wellness also takes a hit. Energy levels, memory, clarity of thinking, vision and hearing, enjoyment of physical activities, sexual function – elevated blood pressure takes a toll on all of these.

Our blood pressure is worth our attention, because hypertension is a problem most of us will have if we don't do something about it.



What is High Blood Pressure?

What is High Blood Pressure?

This article by the American Heart Association provides a detailed discussion on high blood pressure – its causes, mechanism and effects.