What is hypertension?Blood pressure can be low, normal or high, but over time and with age, blood pressure rises. Why? The walls of large arteries become more rigid and the small blood vessels become narrower. Because of these changes, the heart has to generate a greater force to keep blood flowing around the body. This leads to an increase in blood pressure. Hypertension3 is defined as blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140/90 mm Hg.
- SYSTOLIC blood pressure (mm Hg) :The highest level of blood pressure, when blood is pumped from the heart to the entire body.
- DIASTOLIC blood pressure (mm Hg) :The lowest level of blood pressure, when your heart is relaxed before it contracts again.
OPTIMAL : SYSTOLIC <120 (mm Hg) / DIASTOLIC <80 (mm Hg)
NORMAL : SYSTOLIC <120-129 (mm Hg) / DIASTOLIC 80-84 (mm Hg)
HIGH NORMAL : SYSTOLIC 130-139 (mm Hg) / DIASTOLIC 85-89 (mm Hg)
Let us check how to interpret your blood pressure values.4
SYS <120 (mm Hg) & DIA < 80 (mm Hg)
SYS 120-129 (mm Hg) &/OR DIA 80-84 (mm Hg)
SYS 130-139 (mm Hg) &/OR DIA 85-89 (mm Hg)
SYS 140 - 159 (mm Hg) & /or DIA 90-99 (mm Hg)
SYS 160-179 (mm Hg) &/OR DIA 100-109 (mm Hg)
SYS ≥ 180 (mm Hg) &/OR DIA ≥ 10 (mm Hg)
SYS ≥ 140 (mm Hg) &/OR DIA < 90 (mm Hg)
|OPTIMAL||NORMAL||HIGH NORMAL||GRADE 1 HYPERTENSION||GRADE 2 HYPERTENSION||GRADE 3 HYPERTENSION||ISOLATED SYSTOLIC HYPERTENSION*|
|“Good, keep going!”||“Your blood pressure should be recorded at least annually, and you should be offered lifestyle advice. You may receive a medical treatment if your cardiovascular risk is very high because of an established cardiovascular disease, especially coronary artery disease.||“In case of low-to moderate risk grade 1 hypertension, with no link to any organ damage, a medical treatment is recommended if a period of lifestyle intervention does not lower blood pressure to acceptable levels. In any other case, your blood pressure needs to be reduced with a medical treatment, and you should as well follow lifestyle advice.”||“Medical treatment is recommended if a period of lifestyle intervention does not lower blood pressure to acceptable levels.”|
*Isolated systolic hypertension is also graded on a scale from 1 to 3, depending on the systolic blood pressure value, with the same cut-off values as “standard” hypertension.
2018 ESH/ESC Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension.4
Hypertension : a worldwide problem5
Around the world, hypertension affects about 1.13 billion people.
People over 60 years old prevalence
With whom should I discuss this if I want to find out more?Your general practitioner is the right person to ask about blood pressure.8
Mayet J, Hughes A. Cardiac and vascular pathophysiology in hypertension. Heart.
Pollock JD, Makaryus AN. Physiology, Cardiovascular Hemodynamics. StatPearls Publishing; 2019.
Williams B, Mancia G, Spiering W, et al. 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. Eur Heart J.
Williams B et al. Eur Heart J. 2018;39(33):3021-3104.World Health Organisation. A global brief on hypertension Silent killer, public health crisis.. Published April 2013. Accessed