Hypertension or high blood pressure, is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 130 over 80 mmHg — a systolic pressure above 130 with a diastolic pressure above 80.

When you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, the force of blood against your artery walls is too strong. High blood pressure can damage your arteries, heart, and kidneys and lead to atherosclerosis and stroke.  Hypertension is called a “silent killer” because it does not cause symptoms unless it is severely high and, without your knowing it, causes major organ damage if not treated.

In most cases, a doctor may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your high blood pressure. But several factors are known to increase blood pressure, including obesity, heavy alcohol use, family history of high blood pressure, high salt intake and aging. A sedentary lifestyle, stress, low potassium intake, low calcium intake, and resistance to insulin may also cause your blood pressure to rise.

Hypertension is treated with regular aerobic exercise, weight reduction (if overweight), salt restriction, and medications.