What is Blood Pressure and why is it a problem?

Almost half of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it.

If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. It also increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke, as well as heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia.

What is Blood Pressure?Blood pressure is a measure of how hard your blood is being pushed through your blood vessels. Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The first (or top) number is the pressure when your heart contracts/squeezes. This is called the systolic pressure. The second (or bottom) number is when your heart relaxes between the beats. This is called the diastolic pressure. They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

The ‘ideal’ healthy range for blood pressure is systolic pressure (the top number) between 90-120 and the diastolic pressure (the bottom number) between 60-80. High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.

Benefits of healthy blood pressure

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, as long as it’s not too low, we could all reduce our risk and bring our blood pressure down a little. Making healthy lifestyle changes such as eating healthily, moving more, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol and caffeine and getting more sleep can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high. This means your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart and kidney disease and dementia will decrease. There’s also the added benefits of feeling and looking good when you make small changes.