Technically known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a chronic condition marked by abnormally high pressure levels in the arteries. It is usually asymptomatic, and is typically detected when a patient’s vital signs are checked during a medical checkup, or during an examination regarding another problem. Causes of high blood pressure include smoking, high body mass index (BMI), high salt intake, lack of exercise and stress. Typically, dietary and lifestyle changes are enough to reduce blood pressure to a safer, more normal range, but in some cases, doctors may prescribe medications which are aimed at easing hypertension. People with high blood pressure are at elevated risk for a wide range of serious medical conditions, including heart attack and stroke.