About blood pressure
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of the blood vessels.
The pressure of the blood circulating through the body's vessels can be heard and measured using a cuff and stethoscope, or using a blood pressure machine with cuff and pump.
Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers, the top number is measured when the heart contracts and is called the systolic blood pressure, the bottom number is measured when the heart relaxes and is called the diastolic blood pressure.
What does a blood pressure score mean?
Normal blood pressure ranges between a top number / systolic blood pressure of 100 to 140 and a bottom number / diastolic blood pressure of 60-90 mmHg. (mmHg is a medical term meaning millimeters of mercury). Blood pressure measurements higher than 140/90 should be dealt with by a doctor, and may require medical treatment.
Why is it important to control blood pressure?
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. It is sometimes referred to as 'the silent killer', you may have high blood pressure without feeling ill. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have it measured by a professional.
What causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure may occur due to hereditary factors, ageing, obesity, excessive alcohol, lack of exercise and smoking. High blood pressure in adults is often associated with other diseases like diabetes, gout and kidney disease.
Women and high blood pressure
Women over 40 who have a family history of cardiovascular disease should consult a doctor before using oral contraceptives.