Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to elevated pressures in the blood flowing through the arteries of the body. Blood pressure is highest when the heart is contracting, and gives rise to the systolic blood pressure (SBP). The heart relaxes between beats causing the blood pressure to fall and gives rise to the diastolic blood pressure (DBP). The SBP is the top number, while the DBP is the bottom number. The units of measurement are millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
A normal BP is less than 120/80 mm Hg. If an individual is younger than age 60, hypertension is defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg. If an individual is older than age 60, it is defined as a blood pressure greater than 150/90 mm Hg. Generally, hypertension has no symptoms. Many guidelines exist for the treatment of hypertension. Individuals with hypertension are two to three times more likely to develop CHF.