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High blood pressure, known as hypertension, affects around 1 in 4 adults in the UK and rarely has noticeable symptoms.

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is recorded using two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body and the diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to blood flow in the blood vessels between heartbeats. Both measurements are in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

High blood pressure is considered elevated by a reading of 140/90mmHg or more. If you're over 80, high blood pressure is considered with a reading of 150/90mmHg or more.

Ideal blood pressure is usually between 90/60mmHG and 120/80mmHg with the target for people over 80 being to maintain blood pressure below 150/90mmHg.

Everyone's blood pressure is slightly different. What's considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.

Risks of high blood pressure

High blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney disease and vascular dementia.

Reducing your blood pressure even if by a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.

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