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Hypertension (elevated blood pressure) is the leading cause of cardiovascular
disease (CVD), the number one killer in the US. CVD causes decreased blood flow
to your organs, resulting in strokes, heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness,
claudication in the legs and dementia. Risk factor for CVD include not only
hypertension, but elevated cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and tobacco use.
Nearly one in five people in the US have hypertension, making it the number one
medical condition in our nation. Hypertension increases with age
What is hypertension?
Hypertension (HTN) is defined as a blood pressure >140/90 or >130/80 if you have
diabetes or other CVD risk factors. Actually, the optimal blood pressure is
<115/75. For every rise of 20 points systolic your CVD risk doubles. A blood
pressure of 120-139/80-89 is considered pre-hypertensive and should be treated
with lifestyle modification. Ideally, you should have your blood pressure
What does hypertension do to the body?
Think of your blood pressure as the internal pressure of your heart and major
arteries. If the pressure is high it causes wear and tear on the lining of your
arteries, resulting in inflammation and weakness. Aneurisms and strokes result
in weak areas giving out. If your heart has to try to pump into a system that is
high in pressure it will become weak, resulting in congestive heart failure.
Inflammation of your blood vessels attracts more plaque formation. In essence,
you want your blood vessels to remain wide open (not clogged with plaque) and
the pressure to remain low. This reduces the strain on your entire
What can I do to lower by blood pressure?