Blood pressure FAQs
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure gives an idea of how hard the heart is working. It shoots up when you first wake and get up, for example. High pressure means it's being forced to work harder which can increase the risk of heart problems.
How do you measure blood pressure?
Ideally, your GP should do this but you can buy home-testers.
Blood pressure is shown as two figures. The first refers to when the heart is tightening (systolic) and the second to when it is relaxing (diastolic). The diastolic figure is effectively your resting pulse.
For a healthy young male figures of 110-120 and 70-75 are normal. (You'll hear nurses, doctors and actors on ER say: 'bp - 110 over 75'.) For a man of 60, it may be nearer 150/90. But once the systolic starts getting up towards 140 and/or the diastolic to 90 you need to talk to your GP.
Is high blood pressure hereditary?
It can be so make sure your GP knows if people in your family tend to have high blood pressure. Not sure? Have a look at your fingerprints. The more swirly they are, the more likely you are to have a high bp.
But even if there's no histroy of high blood pressure in your family your lifestyle can bring it on. Poor diet, too much salt, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive drinking and stress are all causes.
- CASE STUDY: 'Did Men's Health Day save my life?'
Page created on May 28th, 2009
Page updated on April 22nd, 2010