High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels is consistently too high

How does your blood pressure and circulatory system work?

In order to survive and function properly, your tissues and organs need the oxygenated blood that your circulatory system carries throughout the body.

When the heart beats it creates pressure that pushes blood through a network of tube-shaped blood vessels, which include arteries, veins and capillaries. 

This pressure (blood pressure) is the result of two forces: The first force (systolic pressure) occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force (diastolic pressure) is created as the heart rests between heart beats.

The damage starts in your arteries and heart

  • The primary way that high blood pressure causes harm is by increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels making them work harder and less efficiently.
  • Over time, the force and friction of high blood pressure damages the delicate tissues inside the arteries. In turn, LDL (bad cholesterol) forms plaque along tiny tears in the artery walls, signifying the start of atherosclerosis.
  • The more the plaque and damage increases, the more narrow (smaller) the insides of the arteries become raising blood pressure and starting a vicious circle that further harms your arteries, heart and the rest of your body. This can ultimately lead to other conditions ranging from arrhythmia to heart attack and stroke.

Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure

  • Monitor your blood pressure regularly
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that's low in salt
  • Regular physical activity
  • Manage stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Take your medications properly
  • Work together with your doctor