High blood pressure (hypertension) is generally defined as a blood pressure greater than 140/90 that does not come down even at rest. Many adults who have high blood pressure do not even know it because there usually are not any noticeable side effects early on in the disease process. However, if left untreated, the walls of the arteries are more prone to atherosclerosis (plaque build up) and the heart must pump harder to push the blood through the narrowed arteries. When the heart is forced to work harder it leads to early heart disease.
Sometimes the way people find out they have high blood pressure is after a stroke (cerebrovascular accident) or a heart attack (myocardial infarction). Have your blood pressure checked regularly by your physician, follow any prescribed treatment plan closely, and ask questions if you do not understand or need more information.