12 May 2007
High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition that occurs when the pressure in your arteries is consistently above the normal range. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the wall of the arteries.
Hypertension is also called the silent killer because it has no symptoms and can cause serious disease if it's left untreated for a long time.
How do I know if I have hypertension?
You usually can't tell if you have hypertension. The only way to know your blood pressure is to have it measured by your doctor. Two numbers are used to describe blood pressure.
The top number is called the Systolic blood pressure. It is a measure of blood pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number is called the diastolic blood pressure and it is a measure of the pressure when the heart rests. If a person has a blood pressure of 130 / 80, it means that the patient has a reading of 130 systolic and 80 diastolic blood pressures.
The unit of measure of blood pressure is in millimeter mercury and it is usually written as mmHg. Hence a blood pressure of 130/80 is recorded as 130/80 mmHg.
When is my blood pressure high?
Blood pressure is not the same throughout the day. It varies with time of day or night, exercise, excitement or stress. Because of this normal variation it is important to measure the Blood Pressure a few times on different occasions.
If the Blood Pressure reading is consistently equal to or higher than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic or both, then the doctor will diagnose you as having high blood pressure or hypertension.