Blood pressure: Do you know your numbers?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in the arteries. If your blood pressure is too high it can narrow the arteries and blood vessels in your body and this can lead to damage to the brain or heart.

If it is too high over a period of time and not treated, then you will be at increased risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease, dementia and some eye conditions.

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) usually has no symptoms, which is why many people do not know they have it. That is why it is often called the ‘silent killer’.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be treated and often prevented, and there is lots you can do to lower your risk.

Whether you have high blood pressure, or normal blood pressure, it is important to realise that the higher your blood pressure, whatever it is, the higher your risk of heart disease or stroke. This means that all of us should be adopting a lifestyle that will help to lower our blood pressure whether we have high blood pressure or not.

The only way to find out what your blood pressure is to have regular checks. Keep a record yourself and remember the numbers in the same way as your height and weight. In other words, Know your Numbers! – and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Blood pressure can be high, normal or low. If you consistently have a reading of 140/90 or higher, you may have high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of developing some health conditions, including cardiovascular disease.

Generally, the lower your blood pressure, the healthier you are. As a general guide, the ideal blood pressure for a young healthy adult is 120/80 or lower. However, it’s possible to have abnormally low blood pressure.

People with a reading of around 90/60 or lower are generally considered to have low blood pressure. For some people with low blood pressure, there may be an underlying cause that could need treatment.

You can get more information about blood pressure here.

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