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What Is High Blood Pressure, and How Is It Diagnosed?

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Presentation: High Blood Pressure
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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There is a simple definition for high blood pressure. To find your average blood pressure, you will need to have your blood pressure taken two or more times, and each reading must be from a different day. If your average blood pressure readings are more than 140 over 90 , then you have high blood pressure. A SINGLE reading that is more than 140 over 90 doesn't necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. But, your doctor will want to watch your blood pressure over a certain period of time, to see if it stays there. You can also have high blood pressure if the average of only ONE of the numbers is too high.
However, high blood pressure can be made worse by different things. Your blood vessels may be too narrow or they may have lost their ability to stretch as well as they used to.
If you are told that you have high blood pressure, it doesn't mean that you are "too nervous", overanxious or obsessive. This is a popular myth. High blood pressure is not "nervous tension." In fact, many people who are perfectly calm have high blood pressure.

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