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There is no "ideal" blood pressure reading. However, there is a range of "normal" blood pressure
reading. Generally, a reading that is less than 140 over 90 indicates that you don't need to worry. If
either or both numbers are equal to or greater than 140 over 90 for an extended period of time, you
have high blood pressure, or hypertension.

Hypertension is dangerous because it causes the heart to work extra hard. This strain contributes to
heart attacks and stroke. When the heart is forced to work extra hard for an extended period of
time, it tends to enlarge. A slightly enlarged heart can function well, but a significantly enlarged heart
cannot. High blood pressure also causes damage to the arteries, causing arterial disease.

Hypertension can be treated. Mild cases of hypertension can be treated through behavior
modification like changing diet and increasing exercise. More severe cases of hypertension require
medications like diuretics and beta blockers. Diuretics rid the body of excess fluids and salt. Beta
blockers reduce the heart rate and the heart's output of blood.

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