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What Is Hypertension?
Journey into your body to get an inside view of your cardiovascular system—your heart and blood vessels. You’ll see healthy arteries pulsating rhythmically as blood surges through them. Top experts, including Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. John E. Castaldo, talk about what hypertension (high blood pressure) is and how the force of blood from an overworked heart literally tears the lining of your arteries. Witness a beating heart and learn how high blood pressure can lead to atherosclerosis, enlarged heart, heart attack, and stroke. Go inside an eyeball and watch capillaries bursting in the retina due to hypertension. But high blood pressure can be managed. Find out how exercise and the right diet, possibly combined with medication, can prevent hypertension from being the “silent killer.”
Journey into your body to get an inside view of your cardiovascular system—your heart and blood vessels.
Hypertension Damages Eyes
This video shows the effects of hypertension, or high blood pressure, towards eye damage.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is stated as two numbers that represent the highest and lowest pressure your heart attains during a single beat. The first or top number represents the pressure when your heart contracts: the systolic pressure. The second or bottom number represents the pressure when your heart rests between beats: the diastolic pressure.
What are the Complications of Hypertension?
Left untreated, the force of high blood pressure battering the walls of your blood vessels can take its toll and lead to serious complications, like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vision loss.
Plate of High Sodium Food
Salt is essential to life, but because our bodies are built to crave salt, modern diets often include too much. The kidneys balance the amount of salt and fluid in the body in order to maintain proper blood pressure. When healthy people eat too much salt, their bodies adjust and the kidneys excrete more sodium. But when the kidneys are damaged, they are less able to excrete sodium so that even normal salt intake can result in an increase in the fluid retained by the body, which causes blood pressure to rise. Controlling salt is key to controlling hypertension. High sodium foods to avoid: table salt, potato chips, bacon, pickles, olives hot dogs, pastrami, cheese.
Enlarged Heart Due to High Blood Pressure
For some people with hypertension, telling them that they're "big-hearted" is not good news. Your heart is the strongest muscle in the body, however, like any other muscle, the harder it works, the bigger it gets. In individuals with high blood pressure, where vessels are damaged and stiff, the heart is forced to pump harder with each beat to push blood out into the system. At first, the increase in size allows the heart to pump harder, but over time, the ventricle walls stretch, then thicken and grow stiff. The result is a heart that is both bigger and weaker.
Unhealthy and Healthy Blood Pressure Readings
The dial reading on a blood pressure cuff that is color coded so that the outer most color strip (from 20 to 300) shows the range for the systolic reading and the inner most color strip (from 20 to 140) shows the range for the diastolic reading. Color Coding : red : stage 2 hypertension, orange: stage 1 hypertension, yellow: pre-hypertension, normal green. Optimal blood pressure is 120 systolic/ 70 diastolic. High blood pressure is 230/140.
Artery with Hypertension showing Blood Flow cross section
Hypertension (high blood pressure). When your blood pressure is chronically high, your arteries protect themselves against the added pressure by thickening and stiffening their walls. You're considered to have high blood pressure if it stays at or above 140/90 mmHg over time (or 130/80 mmHg, if you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease).
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