High Blood Pressure

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About 72 million people in the United States age 20 and older have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. That's one in every four adults. High blood pressure is referred to as the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs.

Many people are surprised to find that they have high blood pressure. But it is a serious condition -- one of the leading causes of stroke and heart disease. If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, take it seriously.

By following the steps below and working with your doctor, you CAN lower your high blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart disease.


I. Let's Get Started

Step 1: What is blood pressure?
Step 2: Take high blood pressure seriously
Step 3: What causes high blood pressure?
Step 4: Who gets high blood pressure?


II. Testing and Screening

Step 5: High blood pressure is "silent"
Step 6: Diagnosing high blood pressure
Step 7: Follow-up office visits


III. Managing High Blood Pressure

Step 8: Treatment overview
Step 9: Maintain healthy habits
Step 10: Drug therapy
Step 11: Monitor your blood pressure at home
Step 12: You and your doctor are a team

questionLearn More

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Drug treatments: ACE inhibitors

Drug treatments: Beta blockers

Drug treatments: Calcium channel blockers

Drug treatments: Diuretics

Drug treatments: Other drugs

Essential hypertension

High blood pressure in children

High blood pressure: Risk factors in women

More conditions related to high blood pressure

Pay attention to your systolic pressure!

Recommendations for specific types of patients

Secondary hypertension

questionHelpful Handouts

Questions to ask your doctor

The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. JAMA. 2003;289.

Hansen ML, Gunn PW, Kaelber DC. Underdiagnosis of hypertension in children and adolescents. JAMA. 2007 Aug 22;298(8):874-9.

Kaplan NM. Systemic hypertension: therapy. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, eds. Libby: Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Saunders; 2007:chap 41.

Urbina E, Alpert B, Flynn J, Hayman L, Harshfield GA, Jacobson M, et al. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in children and adolescents: recommendations for standard assessment: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, and Obesity in Youth Committee of the council on cardiovascular disease in the young and the council for high blood pressure research. Hypertension. 2008 Sep;52(3):433-51. Epub 2008 Aug 4.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2008 Jun.

Review Date: 6/8/2011

Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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