Control High Blood Pressure

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Heart Health, Blood Pressure
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Uncontrolled high blood pressure levels (or hypertension) is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Often, there are no symptoms, so you may not know you have it unless you have your blood pressure levels (BP) checked regularly.

A person is considered to have high blood pressure levels when he or she has a systolic pressure of 140 mmHg or greater, and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or greater. Systolic is the pressure when your heart contracts, and diastolic is the pressure between heartbeats when your heart relaxes. Eighty percent of people fall in the borderline-to-moderate range, which is 120–180 systolic over 90–114 diastolic. A normal blood pressure is considered 120 over 80 or lower.

High blood pressure levels are the result of your heart having to work harder to pump adequate blood through your system. Reasons for this include constricted arteries, emotional tension, poor nutrition, hormone imbalances, and innate physical tendencies. For example, women are more likely to have high blood pressure levels because they have smaller arteries than men. 

There are often no symptoms—which is why hypertension is called the “silent killer.” However, unexplained headaches can be one noticeable sign. Flushing—when you feel heat in the face, or get red in the face when angry—is another. 

Obviously, it’s better to maintain healthy blood pressure than to have to treat it.  In the interest of prevention, over the next several blog entries, I will share several important points that can help you keep high blood pressure levels at bay.

For more information on how to control high blood pressure, visit

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