Your blood pressure is a measurement of how ‘hard’ your heart is working to push blood around your body, through the blood vessels. Raised blood pressure, known has hypertension is estimated to cause 7.5 million deaths, about 12.8% of the total of all deaths worldwide.
Hypertension is more common among men before the age of 55 years, but is more common among women after that age limit. There can also be other times during a woman’s life (such as pregnancy) when blood pressure can be raised and this might need specialist attention.
Do you know that hypertension is a ‘silent killer’?
On average, 70% of people having their first heart attack and 80% of people having their first stroke have hypertension. In addition, uncontrolled blood pressure can damage your kidneys and eyes. Evidence suggests that women do have an increased awareness and more likely to be treated than men, however; there needs to be more awareness among older women.
How do you know that you are at risk?
The only way to know this is to have your blood pressure measured. This can be done at home with a digital blood pressure machine but initially it is advised that you go to your Physician/ GP and be assessed so you know your recording. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. The upper number is known as systolic pressure, which indicates the pressure the heart exerts to pump out blood to the body. The lower number known as diastolic pressure, which is the pressure when the heart relaxes. Both are important in telling you how the heart functions.
|Upper number / |
|Lower number / |
|Hypotension||Less than 90 mm Hg||Less than 60 mm Hg|
|Normal||Less than 120 mm Hg||Less than 80 mm Hg|
|At risk of hypertension (prehypertension)||121-129 mm Hg||80 mm Hg or less|
|Hypertension||130 mm Hg or higher||80 mm Hg or higher|
Do you know the causes of hypertension?
Besides your family history which you can’t change, there are other factors for hypertension which are under your control such as increased weight, unhealthy diet specifically rich in salt and sodium, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake.