Hypertension is a medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated leading to health risks. This requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. Blood pressure is summarised by two measurements, systolic and diastolic, which depend on whether the heart muscle is contracting (systole) or relaxed between beats (diastole) and equate to a maximum and minimum pressure, respectively. Normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100-140mmHg systolic (top reading) and 60-90mmHg diastolic (bottom reading). High blood pressure is said to be present if it is persistently at or above 140/90 mmHg.

Hypertension is a major risk factor for stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attacks), heart failure, aneurysms of the arteries (e.g. aortic aneurysm), peripheral arterial disease and is a cause of chronic kidney disease. Even moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure is associated with a shortened life expectancy. Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve blood pressure control and decrease the risk of associated health complications, although drug treatment is often necessary in people for whom lifestyle changes prove ineffective or insufficient.

If your doctor recommends for you to be on some blood pressure lowering medication (anti-hypertensive medication) here is some information on some of the common anti-hypertensive medication:

Hypertension is rarely accompanied by any symptoms. If you think you may have high blood pressure use our blood pressure machine in the waiting room or see your local pharmacist or why not get your own Blood Pressure machine at home. See our Blood Pressure page for more information.