Our hearts pump five to seven liters of blood per minute. When we’re healthy, that blood flows freely through our veins and arteries to the rest of the body, but sometimes, for a variety of reasons, blood flow gets restricted. That’s what it means to have high blood pressure (also called hypertension). Like when too much air is pumped into a tire, this condition causes pressure to build up against blood vessel walls. Over time, high blood pressure damages arterial walls and increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
At Yale Medicine, “we are very individualized in our approach,” says cardiologist Arthur Seltzer, MD. “Some people are amenable to taking medication for their condition. Others would rather have lifestyle changes. As long as the patient understands the goal, they are more likely to follow the program.”