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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:
120 to 139 systolic OR 80 to 89 diastolic May require aggressive lifestyle changes
Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatment options for high blood pressure include:
Blood pressure medications, also called antihypertensives, are commonly used to treat high blood pressure by relaxing and widening blood vessels.
Learn more about high blood pressure from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:
Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, a Medical Group with some 1,400 employed physicians, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient healthcare delivery.
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