Hypertension Update
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What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it’s called high blood pressure.

The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard and contributes to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It increases the risk of heart disease (see box 1) and stroke, which are the first- and third-leading causes of death among Americans. High blood pressure also can result in other conditions, such as congestive heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.


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