Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure, or force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls, gets too high and stays that way. It occurs most often in African-Americans. There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading: The top number, or systolic blood pressure, occurs when the heart pumps or contracts. The bottom number, or diastolic blood pressure, occurs when the heart is resting or relaxing. Most health professionals agree that the upper range of normal blood pressure should be 130/80 or less.
It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans have hypertension. Hypertension occurs most often in African-Americans. Nearly 4 out of every 10 (38%) of African-American adults have hypertension, as compared to nearly 3 out of 10 (29%) of white Americans. Generally speaking, the lower the numbers are, the better.
Key Risk Factors for Hypertension:
family history of hypertension
high salt or sodium intake
high fat intake
excessive alcohol intake
inactive lifestyle (inadequate exercise)
chronic or continuous stress
Some women who use oral contraceptives may have an increased risk of developing hypertension
Key Lifestyle Approaches for Hypertension Control:
active, regular exercise
limiting salt intake to no more than 2.4 grams a day
limiting alcohol intake to no more than 1 ounce a day
taking the minimum daily requirement of potassium, calcium and magnesium
avoiding excessive emotional stress
Hypertension is called The Silent Killer because it has no reliable symptoms. You can look and feel great and still have hypertension. You can also be young and have the disease. It can affect anyone at any age (even children.) In general, hypertension is a greater cause of disease and death in industrialized countries (More about health differences among nations when our web site expands to focus on International Health.)
Health Power emphasizes that hypertension is a major and very easily identified risk factor for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. It is, therefore, very important to do everything possible to prevent it.However, if you get hypertension, please commit yourself to controlling it, not just for yourself, but also for those who love you.
between 85 and 89. Generally speaking, the lower the numbers are, the