High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. Blood pressure measurement takes into account how quickly blood is passing through someone’s veins and the amount of resistance the blood meets while it’s pumping.
Narrow arteries increase resistance. The narrower the arteries are, the higher the blood pressure will be. Over the long term, increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease.
Hypertension is quite common. In fact, 75 million Americans are living with the condition. Hypertension may develop over the course of several years. During those years, someone may not notice any symptoms. Even without symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to arteries and blood vessels.
Early detection is important. Regular blood pressure readings can help notice any changes. If a person’s blood pressure is elevated, a doctor may check the blood pressure over a few weeks to see if the number stays elevated or falls back to normal levels.
Treatment for hypertension includes both prescription medication and healthy lifestyle changes. If the condition isn’t treated, it could lead to health issues, including heart attack and stroke.
Hypertension is generally a silent condition. Many people will not experience any symptoms. It may take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become obvious. Even then, these symptoms may be attributed to other issues.