The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. Blood pressure is measured by two numbers. The top number is your systolic pressure, the pressure created when your heart beats. It is considered high if consistently over 140. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is relaxing and refilling with blood between beats. It is considered high if consistently over 90. In adults, normal blood pressure is below 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. Levels between normal and high are considered pre-hypertension.
Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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