Why High Blood Pressure is a "Silent Killer"

Updated:Sep 15,2017
Understand the symptoms and risks of high blood pressure

There’s a reason it’s often called the “silent killer”
Most of the time, high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) has no obvious symptoms to indicate that something’s wrong. The best ways to protect yourself are being aware of the risks and making changes that matter.

High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms

  • Nearly one out of every six people with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it.
  • High blood pressure develops slowly over time and can be related to many causes
  • High blood pressure cannot be cured. However, it can be managed very effectively through lifestyle changes and, when needed, medication.

Know your numbers
The best way to protect yourself is to learn where you stand by measuring your blood pressure.

Blood Pressure
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
Normalless than 120
andless than 80
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher
100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180
Higher than 110

Recognize your risks
Being aware of your risk factors — the physical and lifestyle attributes that can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure — can help you identify changes you can make to avoid the threats to your health that can result from your blood pressure being too high for too long.

This content was last reviewed October 2016.

Our Sponsor

Bayer Consumer Health, maker of Coricidin® HBP, is a proud sponsor of the AHA High Blood Pressure Web content area. 
Learn more about Bayer Consumer Health.

Watch, Learn and Live

Interactive Cardiovascular Library

Our Interactive Cardiovascular Library has detailed animations and illustrations to help you learn about conditions, treatments and procedures related to heart disease and stroke.

Start exploring today

High Blood Pressure

Subscribe to Heart Insight magazine and monthly e-newsletter
Heart Insight logo
Our digital magazine delivers helpful articles and the latest news on keeping your heart healthy. Sign up today!



By clicking submit below you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy