Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. It’s a vital part of how your heart and circulation works.
Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down all the time, adjusting to your heart’s needs depending on what you are doing. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal.
A blood pressure reading under 120/80mmHg is considered optimal. Readings over 120/80mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are in the normal to high normal range.
Blood pressure that’s high over a long time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. As you get older, the chances of having persistently high blood pressure increases.
It’s very important to get your blood pressure checked regularly, and if it’s persistently high it needs to be controlled. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It may also affect your kidneys.
The medical name for high blood pressure over a long period of time is hypertension.