Hypertension is just another way of saying high blood pressure. But what exactly does high blood pressure mean? Everyone has blood pressure. Every time the heart beats, it generates pressure to pump blood and carry it to where the body needs it. That pressure is known as blood pressure. High blood pressure is when the force of blood pushing against the blood vessel walls is consistently too high. Let’s learn more about hypertension:

What does high blood pressure do to your body?

High blood pressure adds to the workload of your heart and arteries. Your heart must pump with more force, and the arteries must carry blood that’s moving under greater pressure. If high blood pressure continues for a long time, the function of your heart and arteries may decline. Other body organs also may be affected. There is increased risk of stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and heart attack. In most patients, there is no discernible cause for high blood pressure. In a small percentage of patients, however, hypertension may be secondary to other conditions, including blockage in the kidney arteries.

Why should I have my blood pressure checked?

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. That’s why your doctor will want you to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

If your blood pressure is high, your doctor will want you to take steps to lower it. Usually some combination of diet, exercise and medication is recommended to bring blood pressure under control.

Many people with high blood pressure are also overweight. If that’s the case for you, your doctor may prescribe a diet to help you cut down on calories and lose weight. If you’re given a diet, follow it closely, including any advice about drinking less alcohol. Sometimes reducing the amount of sodium you eat can also help lower blood pressure. If your doctor thinks this might help you, he or she will suggest a low-salt diet.

You’ll have to avoid salty food, cut down on how much salt you use in cooking and add to food at the table, and read package labels carefully to learn how much sodium is in prepared food. Exercise also can help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Check with your doctor before you start an exercise program, though.

It is very important to keep your blood pressure under control, so be sure to consistently follow your doctor’s advice.