Know your numbers – Blood pressure

What is Blood Pressure?

Your blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls every time your heart beats. Raised blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.

Almost a third of people with high blood pressure are unaware of it and this can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other health issues. However, even if we told you your numbers do you know what they mean?

What do the numbers mean?

The top number is your systolic blood pressure. (The highest pressure when your heart beats and pushes the blood round your body.)

 The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure. (The lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.)

  • 90 over 60 (90/60) or less: You may have low blood pressure
  • More than 90 over 60 (90/60) and less than 120 over 80 (120/80): Your blood pressure reading is ideal and healthy
  • More than 120 over 80 and less than 140 over 90 (120/80-140/90): You have a normal blood pressure reading but it is a little higher than it should be, and you should try to lower it.
  • 140 over 90 (140/90) or higher (over a number of weeks): You may have high blood pressure (hypertension).

You can check your blood pressure with a simple measurement at your local GP surgery and some pharmacies.

Top tips to lower blood pressure

  • Exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. 
  • A healthy diet is key! Look at your food portions, eat lots of wholegrain, fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet, they are good for your heart and make you feel fuller for longer. 
  • Finally relax! Increased stress levels can also play a part in raising your blood pressure; make sure you take time out and take yourself away when situations become too overwhelming.