Put your foot on a hosepipe and the flow of water decreases, while the pressure increases. Create a block in your vascular system and pretty much the same thing will happen. Usually that block, or the metaphorical foot on the hose, occurs as a result of a build-up of plaque called atherosclerosis.
The difference is that you know when you’ve got your foot on a hose, but you don’t usually know when your blood pressure is too high until something nasty like a heart attack or a stroke happens.
If you’ve had your blood pressure checked but you don’t know what the numbers mean, here’s a quick explanation.
The first number is your systolic pressure i.e. the pressure of blood in your vascular system when the heart beats.
The second number is your diastolic blood pressure i.e. the pressure in your vascular system when the heart rests.
The recommended levels are below 120/80.
High blood pressure (hypertension) is considered to be when these readings are over 140 systolic or 90 diastolic. Two things to add:
1. If you are unsure about your blood pressure go to your GP and get it checked.
2. If it’s too high, don’t panic, there are plenty of interventions including exercise, diet and medication that will sort it out.
What you don’t want is to find out you have high blood pressure the hard way.