You may have high blood pressure (hypertension) and not even know it. High blood pressure puts stress on your blood vessel walls. There are usually no signs or symptoms.
This silent condition (known as hypertension) can lead to:
You should have your blood pressure checked often. Your blood pressure is checked with two numbers. The top number (systolic) shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic) shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests.
You have normal blood pressure if you usually have a top number lower than 120 and a bottom number lower than 80.
See the chart below for general guidelines. Ask your health care provider about what is right for you.
You are at high risk for high blood pressure if you:
You need to have your high blood pressure treated. If not, you could have a heart attack or stroke. You can control your high blood pressure with lifestyle changes and/or with medicine.
Your health care provider may decide that you need to take medicine to control high blood pressure.
Your health care provider will find the right medicine(s) for you.
Important reminders about taking high blood pressure medicine:
High blood pressure medicine has side effects. They may include leg cramps, change in heartbeat, skin rash, and headaches, among others.
Talk with your health care provider about possible side effects before you start taking or change your high blood pressure medicine(s).
Your blood pressure:
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, High Blood Pressure (Hypertension): What You Need To Know, cvs-ah-14036. Some of this information is adapted from the American Heart Association and the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VII).
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts