What is High Blood Pressure?

Step 1: Let’s start by calling it HBP. So much simpler.

Step 2: Download a copy of our free ebook. Here’s why.

A lot has been written about HBP—much of it impossible to understand. So, we put it in plain language, and then put it all in one place. Our book explains what it is, why people get it, what makes it worse; what to eat, what to go easy on, simple exercise that fits into any lifestyle; the amazing power of natural foods; the science behind our drink; common medications, how they work, side effects. So, yeah. Lots. But fun.

An article of the Circulatory Blog

Think Like a Nutritionist

Explore the Circulatory, our blog packed with helpful tips to lower BP. Authored by our co-founder nutritionist Susan Schachter, MSRDN.

Meet BPWise.

An iPhone showing the BPWise app

Track your numbers in BPWise, a free app available on all Apple & Android mobile devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any further questions that aren't addressed here, please send us an email at info@120life.com or leave us a voicemail at (833)-899-9444. You can also check out our free BP eBook for more information on managing Blood Pressure!

+-What is High Blood Pressure, and why does my doctor get so worked up about it?

Think of the pump that pushes water through a garden hose. Now, replace the garden hose with a drinking straw. That’s High Blood Pressure. The same amount of blood that would normally go through the hose is trying to force its way through the straw.

This puts strain on the pump — your heart. It has to work much harder. It also endangers critical parts of your brain, kidneys, lungs and eyes that can’t handle higher pressure. The list of problems that can follow reads like a Who’s Who of everything you don’t want to have: heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, dementia, loss of vision, sleep apnea, bone loss, even sexual dysfunction.

Even worse, there usually aren’t any symptoms. You can go around thinking you’re perfectly fine. That’s why High Blood Pressure is called “The Silent Killer.” That’s why your doctor gets so concerned over this. But here’s the thing: once you know you have it, there are all kinds of ways to control it.

+-Can BP fluctuate?

Yes. It’s totally normal. It changes throughout the day: lower when you wake up and higher at mid-day. It will go up temporarily after eating, exercise, during cold weather as well as hot, humid weather (go figure). Bad news can send it temporarily higher. Just having it taken in your doctor’s office can do the same. (It’s called “White Coat Hypertension.”) There’s nothing unusual about any of this. The thing to watch out for is big changes. So one more time: Know Your Numbers. It’s easy to keep tabs at home with your own monitor. If your pressure is fluctuating more than 20 points, tell your doctor

+-Does BP increase with age?

It certainly can. More than two-thirds of people over 65 have High Blood Pressure. As we age, it’s common for both the Systolic (the top number) to go up and the Diastolic (the bottom number) to go down. There’s also something called “Isolated Systolic Hypertension,” where just the Systolic number is too high but the Diastolic is either normal or low. For people over 65 with High Blood Pressure, this is quite common

+-Can I inherit High Blood Pressure?

Yes. Which doesn’t mean you will. When it runs in your family, the odds of you having it go up. That doesn’t mean you’ll get it, it just means keep an eye out. Tell your doctor about your family history. And remember that long, long list of foods, exercise, alcohol consumption, etc? This is one reason we drew it up. If you’re worried because someone else in your family had High Blood Pressure, you can take steps now to combat the chances of getting blood pressure

+-Is there a connection between High Blood Pressure, Stroke & Heart Disease?

Over 100 million people in the U.S. have High Blood Pressure. About 80% of people who suffer from heart disease or a stroke also have High Blood Pressure.
Some Stroke Statistics, for those who want them:
• About 800,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year
• In the United States, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds
• An estimated 90% of strokes can be prevented
• 140,000 people in the U.S. die each year because of a stroke
• $40 billion in health costs are related to stroke
• Stroke is the 5th leading cause of death in the US have High Blood Pressure
Some Heart Attack Statistics, for those who want them:
• Nearly 70% of people who get a first heart attack
• Nearly 74% of people with congestive heart failure have High Blood Pressure
• Nearly 48% of American adults have some form of heart disease

+-How does High Blood Pressure contribute to Heart Disease?

1) Restricted Blood Flow: When blood flow is restricted or blocked, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen which can lead to a heart attack.
2) Tires the Heart Out: Pumping blood at a higher pressure (think back to garden hose & drinking straw) also makes the heart work harder. To keep up, one of the heart’s chambers thickens, but it’s a losing battle. Eventually, this thickened chamber can’t pump enough blood. The result is heart failure.

+-Is there a connection between High Blood Pressure, Stroke & Heart Disease?

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. This is one place where small makes a big difference. So when you read that something like walking or having a cup of hibiscus tea once a day will “only” decrease your blood pressure by 4.5 points, think of this. If everyone with High Blood Pressure did it, 10% fewer people in this country would have fatal heart attacks. Put a number of these “small” decreases together, and your BP could be right back in the normal range. You’re talking better quality life.