High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – if left untreated, can put you at increased risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
But the only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your your blood pressure checked, as symptoms can be hard to detect.
Using a blood pressure cuff, blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure.
The systolic pressure is the higher number and represents the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body, whereas the diastolic pressure is the lower number and shows the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
So what is considered a normal reading?
Both the diastolic and systolic pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
According to Blood Pressure UK, we should all have a blood pressure below 120 over 80.
A normal blood pressure reading puts people at much lower risk of heart disease or stoke.
But if your reading is 140/90mmHg or higher, this is considered high blood pressure.
Low blood pressure, known as hypotension, is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.
If you have high blood pressure, its advised you lower it.
The blood pressure charity advised: “The reason why people with blood pressure readings in this range should lower it, even though this is not classified as ‘high’ blood pressure, is that the higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems.
“For example, someone with a blood pressure level of 135 over 85 (135/85) is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115 over 75.”
You could get an approximate systolic blood pressure reading without a blood pressure cuff (a sphygmomanometer), according to health website Blood Pressure Nutrition.
But, it’s not possible to get a diastolic blood pressure reading without equipment.
First, find your pulse along your left arm. You’re looking for a radial pulse, which is below the thumb, and a little above your wrist.
If you can feel the pulse without any difficulty, your systolic blood pressure is at least 80mmHg.
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