What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the arterial blood against the arterial walls, when blood circulates through the body. 2 measures are needed to read the Blood Pressure level: the Systolic (SYS) BP (when heart contracts) and Diastolic (DIA) BP (when heart relaxes). Usually readings are measured in mmHG (mm of mercury).
High Blood Pressure happens when arteries become narrow due to plague deposition; the pressure of the arterial blood against the arterial walls becomes is higher than normal.

Illustration of normal BP vs different
stages of high blood pressure

Illustration of normal BP vs differentstages of high blood pressure

Blood pressure levels as per WHO

Blood pressure (mmHg)Too lowNormal valuesGrade 1 mild hypertensionGrade 2 moderate hypertensionGrade 3 severe hypertension
SYS = systole (upper value)below 100up to 134135-159160-179≥180
DIA = diastole (lower value)below 60up to 8485-99100-109≥110

High blood pressure is not a fatality and one can live with it if treated at the right time. But one of the big problems with high blood pressure is that it hardly ever causes symptoms. This means it may go unnoticed until it causes one of its later complications, such as a stroke or heart attack. We estimate ½ of the people suffering from HBP ignore it, that’s why it is important to start checking your blood pressure on a regular basis at home from the age of 40.

Causes of hypertension are mostly unknown. Heredity and age definitely play a role. However we know today that some behaviours of our day-to-day life can influence negatively our level of blood pressure; among them are obesity, salt, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise.

Key figures

  • 1/3 adult in the world suffer of Hypertension*
  • 1/2 of the concerned people ignore it*
  • Main factor for cardiovascular disease (= 45% of the occidental world mortality)*

*Source : World Health Organisation (W.H.O)