What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a serious body condition that can damage your blood vessels over time and increase the risk of various complications such as stroke and a heart attack. High blood pressure is one of the commonest diseases and it is estimated to affect every 1 in 4 persons around the globe. There are a number of people who annually die from heart complications secondary to chronic hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured in the ratio and written as two numbers; the top number that indicates systolic blood pressure (when the heart pumps blood throughout the body) while lower number is an indication of diastolic blood pressure (when the heart is relaxing and receiving blood from body organs). According to the American Heart Association, the normal and high blood pressure readings fall into the following categories;

  • Normal: Less than 120 mmHg for systolic and less than 80 mmHg for diastolic.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: A blood pressure reading between 130-139 mmHg for systolic and 80-89 mmHg for diastolic.
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Blood pressure reading of equals to or more than 140 mmHg for systolic and more than 90 mmHg for diastolic taken at two separate occasions, four hours apart.