Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center

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Overview of High Blood Pressure

Many people have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) without knowing it. That's why it's sometimes called "the silent killer." If you don't detect and treat high blood pressure, it greatly it increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of the arteries, like the pressure of water in a garden hose.

What do the numbers mean? Blood pressure is expressed as 2 numbers: systolic over diastolic (for example, 120 over 80 or 120/80). Here's how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) describes the categories of blood pressure:

Normal Pre-hypertension Hypertension
Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic 120 to 139 systolic OR 80 to 89 diastolic 140 systolic or higher OR 90 diastolic or higher
  May require aggressive lifestyle changes May require one or more medications to achieve goal blood pressure

High Blood Pressure In Depth

Learn more about high blood pressure from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:

Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatment options for high blood pressure include:

  • Medications

    Blood pressure medications, also called antihypertensives, are commonly used to treat high blood pressure by relaxing and widening blood vessels.

    Services and Programs

    Services and Programs at Intermountain Heart Institute for patients with high blood pressure

    • Cardiology – Diagnosis and Consultation

      Our Cardiology program focuses on the diagnosis, medical management and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Patients who have never seen a cardiologist often start here to have their symptoms diagnosed.

    Research in High Blood Pressure

    Intermountain Heart Institute currently has one or more clinical trials that are enrolling patients with high blood pressure. Learn more about our clinical trials for high blood pressure.

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