Blood Pressure

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Introduction
When the heart beats, it pumps blood round the body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If the blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes. Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is not usually something that you feel or notice. It does not tend to produce obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to have it measured. Blood pressure is measured in ‘millimeters of mercury’ (mmHg) and is written as two numbers. For example, if your reading is 120/80mmHg, your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’. High blood pressure

You probably have high blood pressure (hypertension) if your blood pressure readings are consistently 140 over 90, or higher, over a number of weeks. Normal person can also have high blood pressure if just one of the numbers is higher than it should be over a number of weeks. If normal person may have high blood pressure, this higher pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Also, high blood pressure can also cause heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia[1]. High blood pressure signs and symptoms

High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have yours measured. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Many things can affect your blood pressure through the day, so your doctor will take a number of blood pressure readings to see that it stays high over time. Occasionally people with very high blood pressure say they experience headaches, but it is best to visit your GP if you are concerned about symptoms.

Causes of high blood pressure
For most...