Blood pressure is a term given to the pressure of the blood that pushes against the walls of our arteries as it circulates around our bodies. The arteries transport blood from our hearts to the rest of the body and this pressure can fluctuate throughout the day.  

When our blood pressure is measured, the readings are based on two factors. Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats and diastolic blood pressure looks at the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. When you have your blood pressure measured it is done so in numbers. The top number represents the systolic measurement, and the bottom number measures the diastolic measurement. A normal blood pressure reading for an adult should be around 120/70 for younger adults and 130/80 for older adults.

When our blood pressure rises above these levels we can be diagnosed with hypertension and may require medication to manage it. 


Increased blood pressure levels are referred to as hypertension and can increase our risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Lifestyle choices and health conditions such as obesity or diabetes can increase a person’s chances of developing high blood pressure.

We may not always be aware that our blood pressure is higher than what is considered ideal and there are seldom warning signs and so it is important to have your blood pressure checked frequently. 

High blood pressure reduces the elasticity of the arteries causing damage that decreases oxygen and blood flow to the heart. It is also linked to a higher risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in later life.

High blood pressure can be reduced by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits such as:

  • Regular Exercise
  • Reducing salt intake
  • Losing weight
  • Stress management
  • Stopping smoking
  • Eating a well-balanced diet

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 5 October 2023 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.