hy·​per·​ten·​sion | \ˌhī-pər-ˈten(t)-shən \

Definition of hypertension 

1 : abnormally high blood pressure and especially arterial blood pressure

2 : the systemic condition accompanying high blood pressure

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Did You Know?

You might have thought that hypertension was what a movie audience feels near the climax of a thriller, but you would have been wrong. High blood pressure—that is high pressure against the walls of your veins and arteries caused by blood flow—often occurs when the arteries or veins become blocked or narrowed, making the heart work harder to pump blood. But many cases seem to be the result of smoking or taking in too much salt, and many are genetically caused. Hypertension is serious, since it can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Though it often produces no warning symptoms, your blood pressure can be checked quickly and easily by a nurse. If it's high, it can usually be controlled by stopping smoking, losing weight, lowering your salt intake, and exercising—and if all else fails, by medication.

Examples of hypertension in a Sentence

He's being treated for hypertension.

Recent Examples on the Web

However, in 100 percent of the cases, a lung transplant eliminates pulmonary hypertension. Christian Bourge, Popular Mechanics, "How Transplanted Pig Lungs Could Save Human Patients," 30 July 2013 Studies in mice also indicate that paternal malnutrition can lead to elevated serum glucose and thus hypertension—which can lead to cerebral hemorrhage—in male offspring only. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Trauma of US Civil War POW experience affected the next generation," 22 Oct. 2018 Though the medical units were originally designed to treat hypertension or wounds, more than 90 percent of the inmates in the medical unit are suffering from opioid withdrawal. Sarah Wu, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s a community coming together’: Snohomish County conducts second opioid overdose count," 13 July 2018 The company also plans a stand-alone hypertension management app by year’s end and is developing other products for those with multiple chronic diseases. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "WellDoc adds hypertension to diabetes management app," 9 July 2018 People with diabetes and hypertension, common diseases that often occur together, have more than double the risk of stroke and heart attacks, and company officials say the app aims to help them better manage the chronic conditions. Meredith Cohn, baltimoresun.com, "WellDoc adds hypertension to diabetes management app," 9 July 2018 There were 14 inquiries about getting supplies of Tracleer (bosentan), a medication prescribed for high blood pressure in the vessels of the lungs, known as pulmonary arterial hypertension. Sheila Kaplan, New York Times, "F.D.A. Names and Shames Drug Makers to Encourage Generic Competition," 17 May 2018 If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, evidence is overwhelming that reducing salt, adding potassium-containing foods, losing weight, and exercising regularly will work, and is the best treatment to try before going on medication. David Becker, Philly.com, "A cardiologist's 5 best ways to cut salt from your diet," 22 May 2018 Children with hypertension often have the condition as adults. Allison Horton, miamiherald, "3 of 4 kids may have high blood pressure and not know it | Miami Herald," 25 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypertension.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hypertension

1893, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hypertension

hyper- + tension entry 1, probably after French hypertension

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Statistics for hypertension

Last Updated

14 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for hypertension

The first known use of hypertension was in 1893

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English Language Learners Definition of hypertension

medical : high blood pressure


hy·​per·​ten·​sion | \ˌhī-pər-ˈten-shən \

Kids Definition of hypertension

: a medical condition marked by abnormally high blood pressure


hy·​per·​ten·​sion | \ˈhī-pər-ˌten-chən \

Medical Definition of hypertension 

1 : abnormally high arterial blood pressure that is usually indicated by an adult systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater, is chiefly of unknown cause but may be attributable to a preexisting condition (as a renal or endocrine disorder), that typically results in a thickening and inelasticity of arterial walls and hypertrophy of the left heart ventricle, and that is a risk factor for various pathological conditions or events (as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, end-stage renal disease, or retinal hemorrhage) — see essential hypertension, secondary hypertension, white coat hypertension

2 : a systemic condition resulting from hypertension that is either symptomless or is accompanied especially by dizziness, palpitations, fainting, or headache

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