Hypertension, also know as high blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood pressure in an individuals arteries is raised. This requires the heart to work harder and faster than normal to circulate blood around the body.
Blood pressure involves two measurements (systolic and diastolic) which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting or relaxed between beats. Normal blood pressure is at or below 120/80 mmHg. An individual is said to have high blood pressure if it is consistently above 140/90 mmHg.
Hypertension is classified as either primary hypertension or secondary hypertension. Approximately 90% - 95% of cases are categorized as primary which means high blood pressure with no obvious underlying medical cause. The remaining 5% - 10% of cases (secondary hypertension) are caused by other conditions that affect the arteries, kidneys, or heart.
Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease. Lifestyle changes and ammendments to ones diet can improve blood pressure and decrease the risk of associated health complications.