Date Posted: 1st September 2017
Dr Walberg, head of private GP and corporate wellness at St Joseph’s Hospital, explains what it means to have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when the force on the walls of blood vessels from the blood within them is more than normal. As a result, the heart has to work harder and the blood vessels are under more strain.
High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for heart attacks, strokes and death.
Unless your blood pressure in extremely high, you won’t know it’s ‘up’. Healthy adults over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years, and more frequently if you have medical problems and as you get older.
There are two numbers to blood pressure, a top number and a bottom number. Both are important and for most people a target of under 140/90 should be aimed for.
A one-off reading that is high does not mean that you have high blood pressure (hypertension).
The gold standard for diagnosing high blood pressure is ‘ambulatory blood pressure readings’. This is where a small machine is attached to your arm and records readings over a 24-hour period.
This monitoring is available at St Joseph’s Private GP Centre.
A good substitute is home blood pressure readings taken twice a day for a week.