Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a severe condition that can cause long-term damage to the blood vessels and increase the risk of complications like stroke and heart attack. High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent diseases, affecting an estimated one in four people worldwide. Annually, a number of individuals pass away from heart complications resulting from chronic hypertension.
Blood pressure is measured as a ratio and written as two numbers; the higher number indicates systolic blood pressure (when the heart pumps blood throughout the body) and the lower number indicates diastolic blood pressure (when the heart relaxes and receives blood from body organs). The American Heart Association classifies normal and excessive blood pressure readings into the following groups:
Normal: Systolic pressure less than 120 mmHg and diastolic pressure less than 80 mmHg.
Stage 1 hypertension: systolic blood pressure between 130-139 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure between 80-89 mmHg.
Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic blood pressure readings of at least 140 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure readings of at least 90 mmHg on two separate occasions, four hours apart.