As blood flows through the body, it exerts stress on blood vessel walls; creating an effect known as blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured by “the force in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when the heart is at rest (diastolic pressure)” (American Heart Association [AHA], 2008, para. 1). An average healthy adult’s blood pressure has a measurement of 120 over 80 or less (AHA, 2008, para. 3). “High blood pressure (also called hypertension) occurs when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal” (AHA, 2006, para. 1).High blood pressure occurs when the measurement reaches 140 over 90 or more (AHA, 2008). High blood pressure is very common throughout America, and it does not have symptoms, so it is recommended to have blood pressure tested once a year (National Institute on Aging [NIA], 2007, para. 6).
According to the National Institute on Aging (2007), no single thing causes high blood pressure, but “being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, and eating too much salt are risk factor because they raise your risk of having high blood pressure. They do not cause it directly” (para. 9). Genetics, stress, and age have an influence on one’s blood pressure. To help relieve stress, “try relaxation techniques or biofeedback. These things work best when used at least once a day” (Family Doctor, 2006, para. 16). Having high blood pressure wreaks havoc on the body. “The risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) increases with age” (Mayo Clinic, 2008, para. 1). Several parts of the body are affected by high blood pressure. The main body parts afflicted are blood vessels, which are weakened or distorted. The debilitated vessels lead to complications with organs within the body. Weakening vessels in the brain rupture and cause strokes. Narrowing vessels in the kidneys leads to a build up of waste in the blood and cause kidney failure (National Heart Lung Blood Institute [NHLBI], 2008). “High blood pressure is the...
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