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Your heart pumps blood containing oxygen and other nutrients through the arteries to the rest of your body. Blood “pressure” is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, sometimes called hypertension, is very common. Primary or essential high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure tends to develop over years as a person ages.
Blood pressure is evaluated by two key numbers: Systolic Pressure: the blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood and Diastolic Pressure: the blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
Normal blood pressure for adults is defined as a systolic pressure below 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg. It is normal for blood pressures to change when you sleep, wake up, or are excited or nervous. When you are active, it is normal for your blood pressure to increase. However, once the activity stops, your blood pressure should return to your normal baseline range.
Blood pressure is considered high when the numbers are higher than 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure is serious since it can lead to other health conditions over time, such as heart disease.
While there are many medications to treat high blood pressure, not all are effective for everyone. There is still a need for better treatment options and research studies are evaluating study medications that are not available from your regular doctor.
Take the next step to see if you qualify for local research studies for people with high blood pressure. But don’t delay — space is limited!
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