About blood pressure

Your heart is a small yet powerful organ which pumps blood around your body on a constant basis. In fact, it pumps more than 10 pints of blood every minute of the day!

The heart pumps blood towards the lungs which is then re-oxygenated before flowing around the body. This oxygen rich blood nourishes the cells and organs of the body and enables them to function as per normal. This process is vital to our very existence. The flow of blood through the arteries creates a force or pressure on the walls of these arteries. The strength of this force is known as blood pressure. Blood pressure enables blood to circulate around the body, providing essential nutrients and oxygen to all major organs such as the heart and brain.

Blood pressure increases in response to external triggers such as stress or exercise which is entirely normal. It rises in response to these and other triggers but then settles down to its resting rate.

But if it remains at a high level even at rest then this is termed high blood pressure or hypertension. Here is a good way of looking at this: blood pressure helps to sustain life but high blood pressure threatens it. So what is defined as high blood pressure? The next section discusses those measurements which define normal, low and high blood pressure.

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