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Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Blood pressure is the force your blood exerts on your artery walls. Hypertension is blood pressure greater than 140/90. The top (systolic) number is the force exerted as your heart contracts and pumps blood. The bottom (diastolic) number is the force exerted in the moment of rest between contractions. Untreated hypertension can lead to heart or kidney damage.

Hypertension: What You Need to Know

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  • All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year.
  • Diagnosis involves several blood pressure measurements over time. A single instance of pressure above 140/90 does not necessarily mean you have a hypertension.
  • Blood pressure can often be lowered by reducing your sodium (salt) intake or by incorporating a moderate amount of exercise into your lifestyle.
  • If lifestyle measures don't work well enough, medication is usually effective.

30 million Americans have hypertension and don't know it.

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Why choose Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute for treatment of hypertension?

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Our Physicians

Our physicians specialize in helping patients learn to control blood pressure through a combination of behavior change and advanced medicine.

Meet our physicians

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Our Specialty Centers

The Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease takes a multidisciplinary approach to helping you prevent heart disease and stroke — and that includes getting your blood pressure in check.

Learn more about the Ciccarone Center..