Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


BP Checkup Overview

When is blood pressure too high?
In some cases, the systolic blood pressure may be too high, while in others, the problem is with a chronically elevated diastolic blood pressure. The first number of the blood pressure reading represents the pressure in the arteries when the heart pushes blood into the arteries: this is called the systolic pressure. Ideally, the systolic blood pressure should be less than 120. The second number represents the pressure in the arteries just before the heart pumps blood into the arteries: this is called the diastolic pressure. Ideally, the diastolic blood pressure should be no higher than 80. Blood pressure is considered to be too high when it is consistently higher than 140/90. When this occurs the person may need to be treated for hypertension.

What are the symptoms when the blood pressure is too high?
Most people with hypertension have no symptoms. However, symptoms may develop when the blood pressure changes rapidly or become very high. The first symptoms of worsening hypertension may include headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, nausea, and mild fatigue. As hypertension worsens, symptoms may progress to worsening headaches, worsening vision problems, and palpitations.

How does the doctor treat high blood pressure?
Treatment for hypertension includes a low salt diet, avoiding smoking and secondary smoke, exercise, weight reduction for obesity, and medications to control blood pressure. Rarely, surgery may be required to treat some causes of hypertension.

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed BP Checkup References
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