Being diagnosed with hypertension may be scary and / or confusing. There are very few noticeable symptoms which makes the problem worse. Understanding what it is, the levels and what you can do will make things easier.

By the Numbers : There are two numbers that make up blood pressure readings. One is when the heart is beating. That is systolic pressure. The other is between beats when the heart is at rest. That is diastolic pressure.

There are four levels but only two are called stages. Normal readings range from 90 to 119 systolic and 60 to 79 diastolic. Prehypertension is from 120 to 139 over 80 to 89. Stage one is 140 to 149 over 90 to 99. Anything over 150 over 100 is stage two.

Why is it important ? Think of your blood vessels like a water hose. Attached to that hose are a filter and the mechanism that pumps the water. Those would be the kidneys and the heart. Turn the pressure up and damage can happen to both. If the numbers are too high for a long period of time, both the filter and the pump can fail. If that's your kidneys and / or your heart, you could die.

Fixing It : While it's not as simple as turning the hose down so the water does not damage there are things that can be done to lower the problem of hypertension. Lifestyle changes are often recommended, including weight loss and avoiding caffeine.

Medication may also be needed. There are several different types, so it could take a bit before the numbers are where your doctor wants them.

The bottom line is that this symptomless condition needs to be found as early as possible. Regular checks are a must and if you are at risk for the condition your doctor may ask that you take readings at home. Kits are available, inexpensive and fairly easy to use. This will help you keep your heart and kidneys safe.