June 22, 2023

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. Your blood pressure will go up and down naturally throughout the day depending on what you are doing, especially if you are doing exercise ~ Heart foundation

High blood pressure is when the pressure in our arteries is permanently higher than normal. The pressure is high because the heart pumps too hard and the arteries are too narrow or stiff. 

Why is blood pressure important?

High blood pressure is common, affecting 1 in 3 adults in Australia. It is an independent risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks, kidney disease, stroke and premature death. 

High blood pressure can be a ‘silent’ disease. You may not feel any obvious signs or symptoms with high blood pressure, hence it is important to regularly get your blood pressure checked.

What causes high blood pressure? 

In the majority of cases (95%), there is no identifiable cause for high blood pressure. This is called primary or essential hypertension.  However, there are several risk factors for developing high blood pressure including family history, smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle and diet.

What is a normal blood pressure?

A ‘normal’ blood pressure reading would be: 

      • Systolic blood pressure under 120 mm Hg.   Systolic blood pressure is the top number and reflects the pressure required to pump blood from heart into circulation.
      • Diastolic blood pressure under 80 mm Hg.  Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number and reflects the filling pressure when the heart relaxes and fills up with blood.

What you can do to reduce your blood pressure?

      • Getting your blood pressure regularly checked
      • Nutritious, reduced salt and reduced saturated fat diet
      • Regular physical activity with at least 30mins of physical activity on most days
      • Maintaining a healthy weight
      • Limiting alcohol intake
      • Avoid smoking
      • Minimise stress

Acknowledgement – information taken from