Blood pressure is measured as systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. The unit is millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Usually, 120/80mmHg.
The top (higher) number is the systolic pressure – the pressure in the arteries as the heart is contracting – and the bottom (lower) number is the diastolic pressure – the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxed between beats.
High blood pressure is defined as a repeatedly elevated systolic pressure of 140 or higher OR a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher.
- Globally, nearly one billion people have high blood pressure (hypertension); of these, two-thirds are in developing countries.
- Hypertension is one of the most important causes of premature death worldwide and the problem is growing; in 2025, an estimated 1.56 billion adults will be living with hypertension.
- Hypertension is the leading cause of CVD worldwide.
- People with hypertension are more likely to develop complications of diabetes.
- High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not realize they have it; that is why it’s important to get blood pressure checked regularly.