World Hypertension Day – Understanding High Blood Pressure.

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This World Hypertension Day, the theme Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer underscores the crucial role of precise blood pressure monitoring as a key to enhancing health and wellbeing. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition that can silently progress, leading to serious health complications if not addressed. In the UK, the NHS spend £2.1 billion each year to combat hypertension1. It is estimated that around 6 million people in the UK are unaware they have high blood pressure1, illustrating the need for regular testing to stay on top of your cardiovascular health. Today, answer the questions of what is hypertension & how do we understand it whilst busting some myths on what hypertension actually entails.

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension and high blood pressure is the same thing. It is a medical condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. This creates an increased workload for the heart and circulatory system, leading to possible health complications such as heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure affects over 1 billion people worldwide2.

High blood pressure is the result of the stiffening and constriction of your arteries which can result from the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels.

These narrower, more rigid arteries cause higher resistance to blood flow, ultimately causing the heart to work harder to pump the blood to the farthest parts of you. Over time, this additional work can cause damage to the myocardium, or heart muscle, as well as other organs like the brain and kidneys.

High blood pressure typically doesn’t cause obvious symptoms and may go undetected for years. However, when symptoms do appear, they can include headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, flushing, dizziness, or chest pain.

These symptoms usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage. Because of its subtle nature, regular monitoring is crucial, as many people with high blood pressure might not realise it.

Complications of Hypertension

Heart attacks can manifest in several ways. One common type is coronary artery disease, where the arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle are compromised, often leading to a heart attack. Additionally, heart attacks may result from blood clots in these arteries, which reduce oxygen to the heart and cause heart muscle death. This results in scar tissue, impairing the heart’s ability to function properly3.

When the arteries are compromised, the heart must work harder, which can cause the heart walls to thicken and stiffen—a condition known as hypertrophy. Specifically, when this occurs in the left ventricle—the heart’s main pumping chamber—it’s referred to as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a primary cause of this condition, which can lead to irregular heart rhythms and heart failure. Heart failure, a serious health condition requiring medical intervention, doesn’t imply the heart has stopped working but indicates it is not functioning efficiently4.

Strokes are caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. Ischemic strokes are those which are caused by a blocked artery, which can result from high blood pressure5. Haemorrhagic strokes are caused by bleeding in or around the brain because of a burst blood vessel. High blood pressure can weaken the blood vessels, increasing the likelihood of a rupture6

When the blood vessels narrow and harden, it can impact not only the heart but other parts of the body. The kidneys are particularly vulnerable to high blood pressure. Damage to the blood vessels supplying the kidneys can reduce their oxygen supply, leading to scarring and a reduction in kidney function. Additionally, high blood pressure can harm the kidneys’ small filtering units, reducing their ability to remove waste from the blood. This gradual decline in kidney function is known as chronic kidney disease. The kidneys are also important for producing hormones that help regulate blood pressure. Therefore, a disruption in these hormones can lead to increased blood pressure, which can be particularly dangerous if your blood pressure is already high7.

High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and reduce blood flow, which may affect the ability to achieve or maintain an erection. This condition is known as erectile dysfunction and is often made worse by other heart-related problems that come with high blood pressure. Managing high blood pressure effectively through lifestyle changes can help improve this condition and boost overall sexual health8.

The connection between high blood pressure and diabetes is quite complex. While they don’t cause each other directly, people with type 2 diabetes often face additional challenges like high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. These issues can lead to serious conditions such as those mentioned here. Managing both blood sugar and blood pressure is key to preventing these serious complications. Making lifestyle changes, including improving diet, increasing physical activity, and managing stress, is essential in controlling both diabetes and high blood pressure, ultimately improving overall health8.

Understanding Hypertension – What is Systolic & Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Systolic Blood Pressure: This refers to the pressure in the arteries, which occurs at the moment when the heart beats. This is the higher number of the blood pressure reading.

Diastolic Blood Pressure: This represents the pressure of the heart at rest between beats. It refers to the smaller number of blood pressure.

A blood pressure reading of 120/80 mmHg is said to be normal. Readings at 140/90 mmHg and beyond on a constant basis suggest hypertension.

Myths and Misconceptions

"High blood pressure always causes symptoms"

Often, there are no symptoms, which is why regular monitoring is essential, as high blood pressure doesn’t always produce noticeable signs.

"Young People aren't at risk for high blood pressure".

High blood pressure can affect anyone at any age, making early detection and lifestyle changes crucial.

Drinking coffee can raise blood pressure.

While caffeine is a stimulant, most studies have found that it does not significantly increase blood pressure in the long-term9. Although, if you’re getting your blood pressure tested, you shouldn’t drink any coffee beforehand, as its stimulant properties can acutely raise blood pressure. In contrast, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to an increase in blood pressure.

Controlling your Blood Pressure

Managing your blood pressure involves lifestyle adjustments and following medical advice, including:

  • Eating a balanced diet.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Limiting alcohol intake.
  • Undergoing regular health screenings.

At Randox Health, our comprehensive health checks measure your blood pressure and help identify and manage other cardiovascular risk factors.

Vital Testing at Randox Health

At Randox Health we advocate for a proactive approach to healthcare, emphasising the importance of maintaining well-being and vitality through preventive measures. We aim to revolutionise healthcare by shifting from reactive sickness management to proactive strategies. By analysing various biomarkers and data points, including blood pressure, we empower individuals to take control of their health by identifying risk factors early and implementing evidence-based interventions for long-term health improvement.

The Randox Health Vital Health Check evaluates more than 20 key markers, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar, providing a comprehensive assessment of the risk for conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Appointments are available at convenient clinic locations, where personal measurements and blood samples are collected. Results are delivered securely within 2-4 working days, with the option for a remote consultation with a specialised GP for further guidance on next steps.

This World Hypertension Day, let’s commit to accurate blood pressure monitoring and management. By understanding and controlling your blood pressure, you embrace a pathway to an improved health and wellbeing.

If you’d like to learn more about our services and what we can do for you, please visit our website at Alternatively, don’t hesitate to get in touch and one of our highly trained team via our socials or by using our enquiry form. We are always happy to answer any questions you have.


  1. Blood Pressure UK. Blood pressure facts and figures.
  2. World Heart Federation. Hypertension.
  3. Shahjehan RD, Bhutta BS. Coronary Artery Disease. StatPearls; 2023.
  4. Bornstein AB, Rao SS, Marwaha K. Left Ventricular Hypertrophy. StatPearls; 2023.
  5. Hui C, Tadi P, Patti L. Ischemic Stroke. StatPearls; 2023.
  6. John Hopkins Medicine. Types of Stroke .