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What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. It is defined as transitory (short-lived) or chronic elevation of the blood pressure in the arteries. This elevation may lead to cardiovascular damage.

Blood pressure is broken into systolic and diastolic values. The systolic measurement is the peak pressure in the arteries, and the diastolic measurement is the minimum pressure in the arteries. Normal blood pressure is defined as being below 120/80, where 120 represents the systolic (maximum) measurement and 80 represents the diastolic (minimum) measurement. 

Hypertension occurs when the blood pressure reaches above 140/90. The risk for hypertension is increased in a condition known as prehypertension, which occurs when the blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89.

Causes of Hypertension

The most common causes of hypertension include 
  • Smoking, 
  • Obesity or being overweight, 
  • Diabetes, 
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle, 
  • Lack of physical activity, 
  • High salt or alcohol intake levels, 
  • Insufficient consumption of calcium, potassium or magnesium, 
  • A deficiency in vitamin D, 
  • Stress, 
  • Aging, 
  • Chronic kidney disease and adrenal and thyroid conditions or tumors. 
  • Some individuals may also be genetically predisposed to hypertension.

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