Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is known as the “silent killer” for a reason. It typically goes unnoticed, although it is a significant risk factor for heart disease and stroke. According to the 2017–18 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey, one in every three adults aged 18 and up (34%) has high blood pressure. Similarly, one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm hg), which involves two numbers. Your blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The greater your blood pressure, the narrower your arteries are. The top figure, systolic blood pressure, shows how much pressure your blood exerts on your artery walls when your heart beats. The second figure, diastolic blood pressure, represents how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls while your heart is resting between beats.
A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg is regarded as normal. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. If your results are higher than normal but less than 130/80 mm Hg, you have increased blood pressure. This indicates that you are at risk for high blood pressure.
The good news regarding high blood pressure is that lifestyle adjustments can help you lower your numbers and risk without the use of medicines.