Understanding High Blood Pressure
Before you know some of the causes of hypertension, you should familiarize yourself with the basics. You may have noticed that at your annual physical your doctor takes your blood pressure by placing an arm cuff on you, pumping air into the cuff, and then releasing it. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or less (but not too low). When the numbers are higher than that your physician may want to monitor you or have extra tests done. The first number in a blood pressure reading is the systolic number which indicates how much blood is pressuring your arteries while your heart is beating. The second number is the diastolic number which indicates how much blood is pressuring your arteries in between heartbeats. Higher numbers indicate the blood is not properly pumping and is instead causing stress on your arteries which can lead to dangerous health problems in the future.