High blood pressure is one of the major health problems of the 21st century. When blood pressure is high, the heart must work harder to pump an adequate amount of blood to all parts of the body. Although blood pressure varies from person to person and also by age, in general terms, normal blood pressure should be less than 130 mm Hg systolic and less than 85 mm Hg diastolic. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic (120 over 80).
Many lifestyle factors—such as stress, obesity, excessive use of stimulants, smoking, or a high sodium intake—contribute to increased blood pressure. Uncontrolled blood pressure can be dangerous and deadly. Remember, high blood pressure does not always come with symptoms. That is why you may have heard high blood pressure referred to as "the silent killer". It is recommended to keep record of your blood pressure readings in order to monitor and prevent hypertension.