Having high blood pressure is known as Hypertension and it is also known as the “Silent Killer” why? This is because there are often no symptoms or side effects from having it. Let me explain what blood pressure is. When you have your blood pressure taken, your health professional or Doctor will give you the reading in two numbers for example 120/70. The higher number, the first number is known as Systolic and the second or lower number is known as Diastolic.

Blood is constantly being pumped around your body and for the oxygen to reach those parts of the body which are furthest from the heart, there needs to be a constant pressure in the blood vessels. The heart then has to contract with a force that allows the blood in the heart to be propelled out through the aorta and then to the rest of the body, but it has to contract at a greater pressure than there already is in the body.

The pressures at which the heart has to contract can be measured and this first reading, known as systole or the higher number, is the high pressure the heart has to reach as it is then able to open the heart valve into the aorta to then pump the blood into the aorta and on to the rest body.

The lower number, diastole, is when the heart is rests and blood flows back into the right side of the heart and the heart itself gets it own oxygen supply.

The ideal blood pressure reading for a healthy individual is up to 140/85 and for those who are diabetic up to 130/80. The higher the blood pressure readings, the more pressure the heart has to work under and also the time when the heart relaxes is shortened. So a blood pressure of 210/110 would be a staggering amount of pressure the heart constantly under. Over time if your heart has been working at these higher levels the increased effort may lead to the heart itself to becoming thickened, enlarged and less efficient, and this can lead to a heart condition known as Heart Failure.

Blood pressure increases with age and varies very not just between individuals, but also for the same person from minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day. It is therefore advisable to get your blood pressure checked at least once a year and if it is found to be raised your doctor will monitor it, because of the reasons above, so as to get a better picture of what is going on.

For those who have heart disease or who have been through a heart rehabilitation program it is vital that their blood pressures are regularly checked and monitored