Why High Blood Pressure is a "Silent Killer"

Updated:Dec 7,2016
Understand the symptoms and risks of high blood pressure

There’s a reason it’s often called the “silent killer”
Most of the time, high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something’s wrong. The best ways to protect yourself are being aware of the risks and making changes that matter.

High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms

  • Nearly 20 percent of people with high blood pressure — one out of every five — don’t even know they have it.
  • High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be related to many causes
  • High blood pressure cannot be cured. However, it can be managed very effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication.

Know your numbers
The best way to protect yourself is to learn where you stand by measuring your blood pressure.

Blood Pressure
Category
Systolic
mm Hg (upper #)
  Diastolic
mm Hg (lower #)
Normal less than 120
and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139
or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159
or
 
9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher
 
or
 
100 or higher
 
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180
or
Higher than 110

Recognize your risks
Being aware of your risk factors — the physical and lifestyle attributes that can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure — can help you identify changes you can make to avoid the threats to your health that can result from your blood pressure being too high for too long.

Put yourself to the test
Is your blood pressure increasing your risks for serious medical problems? Use our risk calculator to learn your likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease — and how simple changes can make a difference.

This content was last reviewed October 2016.

Our Sponsor

Bayer Consumer Health, maker of Coricidin® HBP, is a proud sponsor of the AHA High Blood Pressure Web content area. 
Learn more about Bayer Consumer Health.

Interactive High Blood Pressure Guide

Interactive High Blood Pressure Guide

Find videos, trackers and more with our interactive HBP guide. The guide has tips to empower you to manage your blood pressure. Get started!
Also available as a downloadable PDF.

 High Blood Pressure

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