How High Blood Pressure Works

high blood pressure

How High Blood Pressure Works

Understanding the basics of high blood pressure is important to know, especially as you age. 

Effectively managing your BP can help prevent health conditions like strokes, heart disease and kidney disease.

In this article I will answer a number of basic questions to give you a solid understanding of how high BP works.

What Is High Blood Pressure? 

High blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Your blood pressure is always rising and falling throughout the day and if it rises and stays that way over time, you have high BP.

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Most people refer to this condition as High BP although the medical term is hypertension.

When you have high blood pressure it puts more pressure on the heart, making it work harder than usual.

If untreated this can lead to strokes or heart disease.

What Is The Normal BP Level?

The normal blood pressure level is less than 120 over 80 or less.

The first number is your systolic pressure and the second number is your diastolic pressure. Your numbers are read 120 over 80, etc. If your pressure is 140 over 90 or higher you have high BP.

Systolic Blood Pressure vs Diastolic Blood Pressure

Here is the difference between the two:

  • Systolic BP is the force of blood in your arteries when your heart is beating.
  • Diastolic BP is the force of blood in your arteries when your heart is relaxing.

What Are The Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure? 

The most common risks of high blood pressure are stroke and heart disease. There are a few other risk factors that can be modified and some that cannot be. The following are some risks:

• Tobacco
• Physical Inactivity
• Abnormal Cholesterol
• Being overweight

Who Can Be Diagnosed With High BP? 

Unfortunately anyone can get high BP but it is more common among African Americans. Nearly one in three American adults has high BP.

African Americans also have a much higher death rate from kidney disease and stroke than white Americans. Even so, with treatment you can help lower your BP.

How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure? 

Fortunately there are many different ways of helping to lower your blood pressure.

  • Exercise is a great way to lower it. Doing physical activity will make your heart stronger over time. If you have a stronger heart it can pump blood easier lessening your risks of stroke and kidney diseases. 
  • If you are concerned about your BP consult your physician. Ask any and all questions you might have and find the best way for you to lower it.
  • If all regular ways fail, consider medication. Talk with your doctor about your health and lifestyle so he can choose the best medicine for you. 


Now that you know the basics you can make better decisions to hopefully avoid many of the problems we discussed in this article that are related to high blood pressure. 

If you need a doctor to help you manage your BP, see our guide titled 14 Low Cost Medical Clinics In Houston That Treat the Uninsured to find a provider. 

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