What is hypertension or high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a condition where the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. This increases the workload for the heart and vessels and causes damage over time. It can lead to other conditions ranging from arrhythmia to heart attack and stroke when unmanaged.

High blood pressure has no symptoms. If you are concerned you might have a problem, talk to your primary care provider.

Know your numbers so you can manage high blood pressure:


(upper number)


(lower number)


Less than 120


Less than 80




Less than 80

High Blood Pressure
Stage 1




High Blood Pressure
Stage 2

140 or higher


90 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis
(consult your doctor immediately)

Higher than 180


Higher than 120

Systolic blood pressure (upper number) – the force of blood pumping out of the heart into the circulatory system.
Diastolic blood pressure (lower number) – the force in the circulatory system when the heart is at rest between beats.

How is hypertension treated?

You and your doctor work together to create your best treatment plan. Your plan may include lifestyle changes such as:

  • Eating a healthier diet
    • Reduce red meat
    • Increase fruits and vegetables
    • Reduce sodium
    • Increase flavorful spices
    • Reduce sweets and beverages containing sugar
    • Increase fruit infused waters and sweet fruits
  • Quitting smoking
  • Being more physically active
    • 30 minutes five days a week of moderate exercise
  • Dealing with stress
    • Take five minutes to breathe deeply and clear your head several times a day
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

Treatment can also include medications

Monitoring and maintaining your blood pressure within a normal range is a life-long commitment to your health. You are as important in keeping yourself healthy as your doctor. Commit to making positive changes to enhance your healthy life.

Guthrie heart surgeons are part of the largest cardiac care team in the northern Pa. and southern N.Y. Your heart is in good hands at Guthrie.

Guthrie interventional cardiology has advanced training in cardiac catheterization, performing ablation, stenting, angioplasty other structural heart procedures.

Guthrie Cardiac and Vascular team treats patients with circulatory diseases: abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease. 

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