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What is hypertension?

Hypertension is when a patient has abnormally high blood pressure. To determine when hypertension occurs, a unit of measurement called millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is used. 120/80 mm Hg or lower is generally considered normal and healthy blood pressure. Anything above 130/80 mm Hg is generally considered hypertension, with the severity of the condition increasing as the top and bottom numbers increase.

Hypertension can lead to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and can contribute to conditions, including heart attacks and strokes. Hypertension may result in headaches, nosebleeds, and/or shortness of breath, but the majority of patients with hypertension exhibit no noticeable everyday symptoms.

Hypertension may be treated through prescription medication, or healthier lifestyle choices, like increased exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Why is hypertension important in healthcare?

Hypertension is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” because many individuals living with hypertension are unaware that they suffer from it and the potential effects are severe and life-threatening. Even if milder symptoms of hypertension are present, they may be attributed to another condition, since most patients do not have the ability to take an accurate blood pressure reading at home.

Because hypertension unknowingly affects so many people and has such potentially severe consequences if left untreated, it’s imperative for healthcare professionals to accurately diagnose hypertension, explain the potentially severe side effects to patients, and provide personalized methods for patients to get their blood pressure levels back down to normal.