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Hypertension - Overview

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What Is Hypertension / High Blood Pressure?

As blood flows throughout the body, it exerts a certain amount of pressure against the walls of the arteries, veins, and capillaries, known as blood pressure. Normally, blood pressure falls and rises throughout the day to match metabolic fluctuations, but it always returns to a stable, optimal level.


Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition where the blood pressure stabilises at an abnormally high level. High blood pressure causes the heart to work extra hard to pump blood around the body, which can lead to life-threatening complications.


High blood pressure is quite common among adults. However, since most cases of hypertension present no symptoms, the condition mostly goes undetected. As of 2019, 32% of UK adults had hypertension, and about 30% of those were undiagnosed. Most cases of high blood pressure are stumbled upon during random physical examinations or treatment of other diseases.

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Healthy adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once every year. Visit our London clinic for a quick, non-invasive blood pressure test with immediate and accurate results. 

On top of that, our friendly and highly experienced haematologists will explain what your blood pressure numbers mean and recommend the necessary interventions to maintain healthy blood pressure. Crucially, a team of friendly geriatricians is always on hand to take care of seniors, making personalised medical services accessible to those who need it the most.

The Five Blood Pressure Levels

Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer composed of a pressure cuff, air pump, and manometer. To take a reading, a healthcare professional wraps an inflatable cuff around your arm and inflates it by switching on the pump. The inflated cuff blocks blood flow in the branchial artery, a major blood vessel in the arm, while the manometer senses the blood pressure.

A sphygmomanometer outputs two numbers in units called millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The first and larger number represents the systolic pressure—the pressure inside the artery during the heart’s beat cycle. The second smaller number gives the diastolic blood pressure—the pressure inside the artery when the heart rests between beats.

Haematologists generally agree on five blood pressure ranges when diagnosing hypertension. These are:

Normal Blood Pressure: Below 120/80 mm Hg

Any reading between 90/60mm Hg and 120/80mm Hg indicates normal or healthy blood pressure. No medical intervention is required here.

Elevated Blood Pressure: 120-129/less than 80 mm Hg

People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop hypertension if the situation is not addressed. While no medications are required at this stage, the haematologist may recommend healthy lifestyle changes to mitigate the risk of escalating the condition.

Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89 mm Hg

Stage 1 blood pressure warrants prescription medication to prevent the numbers from climbing any higher. Your doctor may also recommend essential lifestyle changes.

Stage 2 Hypertension: 140-180/90-120 mm Hg

Stage 2 hypertension presents an increased risk of developing serious cardiovascular complications such as stroke and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). The medications recommended at this stage address both the hypertension and the risk of secondary complications.

Hypertension Crisis: Above 180/120 mm Hg

A blood pressure reading over 180/120 mm Hg is considered a hypertension crisis or emergency. It requires immediate medical attention, as the patient could be at risk of critical organ damage and heart failure.

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