High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the pressure of blood in the body is too high.
It’s dangerous because if left untreated it can cause many serious health problems, like heart attacks and strokes.
This is because when blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on the blood vessels that serve the body’s organs, such as the heart and brain.
High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, which means many people don’t know they have it.
According to the NHS, more than one in four adults in the UK have hypertension, many of whom won’t realise it.
The only real way to find out if your blood pressure is high, is to have your blood pressure checked.
“All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years,” said the NHS.
“Getting this done is easy and could save your life.”
Blood pressure can be tested at GP surgeries, at some pharmacies and even in some workplaces. You can also buy a blood pressure monitor to use at home.
However, in cases of extremely high blood pressure, symptoms may develop.
When blood pressure is severely high, this is known as malignant hypertension, or a hypertensive crisis.
Malignant hypertension happens when blood pressure spikes suddenly and extremely, and is considered to be a medical emergency.
It develops rapidly and is often a result of high blood pressure not being controlled properly.
Malignant hypertension is dangerous because it can result in fluid in the lungs, brain swelling or bleeding, and strokes.
If blood pressure reaches these levels, symptoms are more likely develop.
They can include severe headaches, vision problems, chest pain, nosebleeds, blood in the urine, and nausea and vomiting.
Malignant hypertension can be prevented, however, by checking blood pressure and keeping it under control if it is high.
According to the NHS, normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
Malignant hypertension is considered to be 180/120mmHg or higher.