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About High Blood Pressure

Illustration of how blood pressure is the measurement of force applied to artery walls.

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. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. But if it stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and lead to health problems. High blood pressure raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.1

High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it. The only way to know if you have it is to measure your blood pressure. Then you can take steps to control it if it is too high.

Learn more about high blood pressure:

Your health care team may refer to high blood pressure as hypertension.

Find downloadable fact sheets about high blood pressure and related conditions:


  1. Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009 [PDF-3M]. Nat Vital Stat Rep. 2011;60(3):1-117.