High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the silent killer. This is because you can have it for years without showing any symptoms at all. That is, until the constant pressure damages your organs. Luckily, there’s a simple test doctors can do to find out if your blood pressure checks out OK. Reading through this brochure, you’ll be able to get a good idea if you, or your loved ones, are at risk of having high blood pressure. We’ll also take you through some steps that you can follow to keep your blood pressure at the right level.
What is blood pressure?
Everybody has blood pressure, it’s what’s needed to pump the blood around your body. The force of the blood against the walls of the arteries is what we call blood pressure. When your heart pumps, the pressure of blood in your arteries rises. This is called your systolic pressure. When your heart relaxes, the pressure in your arteries falls. This is your diastolic pressure.
How is blood pressure measured?
When your blood pressure is measured, the reading will include two numbers. These refer to your systolic and diastolic pressure.
- Systolic pressure is the pressure that the heart exerts for your blood to be pumped to your heart and organs. Your systolic pressure is indicated by the higher number.
- Diastolic pressure is the pressure of your blood returning back to the heart. Your diastolic pressure is the lower number. For example, 120 /80. Here the systolic pressure is 120 and the diastolic pressure is 80.
Your blood pressure normally varies during the day. When you’re excited, stressed or exercising, your blood pressure increases. When you’re relaxed, your blood pressure will be at its lowest. It’s when your blood pressure stays high that you have high blood pressure.