Blood pressure is the force of blood exerted against the walls of arteries/blood vessels. Blood pressure rises and falls during the day. It is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and recorded as two numbers – systolic pressure (when the heart beats/as the heart contracts) over diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats and fills with blood).
If blood pressure stays elevated, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension. It is dangerous because it overstrains the heart. The prolonged high force with which the blood flows harms the arteries and can lead to heart and kidney diseases, stroke, impaired vision and blindness.
High blood pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms. Once it occurs, it usually lasts a lifetime.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of preventable death.
Hypertension accounts for 7.5 million deaths every year, with 1 billion people suffering from the condition worldwide. In the South-East Asia Region, one in three adults has hypertension, which claims nearly 1.5 million lives each year.