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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > A-Z Health Topics > E-H > HEART DISEASE AND STROKE > High blood pressure

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is also referred to as high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. If blood pressure stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.[1]
 
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
There are no signs or symptoms for hypertension and many people are unaware they have it. Regularly have your blood pressure checked by your doctor or pharmacist.
 
What are the Risk Factors?
High blood pressure is often preventable by reducing your risk. You cannot change certain risk factors such as age, race, gender or family history. However, you can change the following:
  • unhealthy diet;
  • obesity;
  • physical inactivity;
  • tobacco use;
  • alcohol intake; and
  • management of diabetes. 
If you already have high blood pressure your doctor may prescribe medications and lifestyle changes that can help you.
 
Resources
For more information and tools on hypertension, its associated risk factors and how to control your risk, visit the following:
 
[1] Definition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention