ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

High Blood Pressure (AKA Hypertension or HBP) - What is it?

Updated on June 19, 2013

Blood Pressure Range Chart

This chart shows the American Heart Association blood pressure ranges.
This chart shows the American Heart Association blood pressure ranges.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because too many times people do not realize they have problems with their blood pressure until it is too late. My goal with this article is to raise awareness of what high blood pressure is and the warning signs that someone may be suffering from this disorder. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as HBP or Hypertension (note: hypertension does not have anything to do with being overly anxious, hyper, or tense; rather it has nothing to do with traits attributed to personality.) Statistically speaking, approximately 1 in 3 adult Americans suffer from HBP.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is actually the measurement of the force in which your blood pushes outward on your arterial walls while pumping through your body. High blood pressure means the force is higher than that of the normal range.

Why is keeping my Blood Pressure under Control Important?

If not treated, high blood pressure damages and scars the arteries and increases the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, and peripheral vascular disease. After extended times of untreated HBP, people can suffer from a number of health problems including: vascular weakness (weak veins/arteries), vascular scarring, increased risk of blood clots, plaque and cholesterol build up in the veins/arteries, tissue and organ damage (from blocked arteries/veins), and excessive work on the circulatory system.

What is normal blood pressure?

When your blood pressure is taken, you get two numbers. The systolic reading (often referred to as the top number) measures blood pressure when the heart beats (as the heart contracts). The diastolic reading (often referred to as the bottom number) measures blood pressure while the blood is in the veins and arties (as the heart is at rest & refilling with blood). Generally the top number is considered more critical as an indicator of high blood pressure in people older than 50 years old. Systolic blood pressure often increases with age. Please note that a single incident of high blood pressure does not mean that you need to take medication. Instead high blood pressure is more effectively diagnosed by a pattern of high blood pressure readings. The chart (on the right side of the screen and another at the bottom) was borrowed from the American Heart Association web site and shows the ranges for normal and high blood pressure.

What is Hypertensive Crisis?

Hypertensive Crisis is when blood pressure reaches a critically and dangerously high level (systolic of 180 or higher and diastolic of 110 or higher). It is divided into Hypertensive Urgency and Hypertensive Emergency. Hypertensive Urgency means that the blood pressure is critically high but it not causing damage to vital organs. Hypertensive crisis is usually identified as hypertensive urgency when blood pressure reaches 180/110. Hypertensive Emergency is when blood pressure is critically high to the point of causing damage to vital organs. It is usually identified when blood pressure reaches 180/120. If someone is experiencing Hypertensive Crisis of any kind, they should seek out medical attention immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of HBP and Hypertensive Crisis

Often times with high blood pressure there are no symptoms. That is why so many people die from HBP without ever knowing they had a history of it. Some people report symptoms of headache, nosebleed, facial flushing, dizziness, or blood spots in the eye; however, research has not supported these symptoms as occurring in most cases. Hypertensive Crisis often has the following symptoms: severe headache, severe anxiety, shortness of breath, and nosebleeds.

Why is it important to control my Blood Pressure?

Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure or Hypertensive Crisis can lead to the severe medical consequences including death. Some of the problems HBP (uncontrolled) leads to includes: stroke, heart attack, memory loss, unconsciousness, damage to eyes and kidneys, loss of kidney function, angina (chest pain), aortic dissection, fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema), and eclampsia.

I hope this article is educational and will help someone who may not know they are struggling with high blood pressure. I learned a lot just researching the topic myself.


Blood Pressure ranges from the AHA

Blood Pressure Ranges
Systolic (upper #)
Diastolic (lower #)
120 or below
Prehypertension (Borderline)
HBP - Stage 1
HBP - Stage 2
160 or higher
100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis - Help Needed
Higher than 180
Higher than 110


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Sara Algoe profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Ariz

      Nice info really useful. My mom needs to read this.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)