What You May Not Know About Blood Pressure

  • Category: Blogs, Cardiology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Horizon Health
What You May Not Know About Blood Pressure

The facts about high blood pressure are fairly well known.

For one, uncontrolled high blood pressure (or hypertension) raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Additionally, one in three Americans has high blood pressure and does not know it.

A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). According to the American Heart Association (AHA), normal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80 (120/80). Fortunately, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable.

Other facts related to high blood pressure may not be as well known. The following information is provided by the AHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Recent studies show that high blood pressure is linked to a higher risk for dementia, a loss of cognitive function.
  • High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure because it can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken, or harden.
  • High blood pressure can result in hypertensive retinopathy, blood vessel damage that causes blurred vision or loss of sight.
  • About seven of every 10 people with chronic heart failure have high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure does not just happen to older adults. About one in four men and nearly one in five women age 35 to 44 has high blood pressure.
  • Women with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to have complications during pregnancy than those with normal blood pressure.

Blood pressure is different than heart rate. It is the force of blood moving through blood vessels, while heart rate is the number of times the heart beats per minute. A person’s pulse rate is exactly equal to his or her heartbeat.

Donna Kerns, family nurse practitioner, provides cardiology services at Horizon Health, including treatments for high blood pressure.

blood pressure graph