What is it?
Blood pressure is the pressure present in the blood vessels of the cardiovascular system. Two values measure the level of blood pressure. The systolic pressure (the higher number) is the pressure in the blood vessels when your heart compresses to pump blood around the body. The diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart fills up with blood in between heart beats. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
Why measure blood pressure?
Hypertension is defined as blood pressure >140/90mmHg. The risk of hypertension increases with age and affects men more frequently than women. Hypertension forces the heart to work harder and can lead to damage to both the heart and blood vessels over time. It is essential that hypertension is controlled as it is the single most important risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. There are generally no symptoms associated with high blood pressure. Therefore, the only way to identify it is to get your blood pressure measured.