High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the the pressure of blood in the body is too high.
The condition can be dangerous as if left untreated it can lead to serious health problems, such as 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.
It can be difficult to know if you have high blood pressure, as it rarely has noticeable symptoms.
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.
However, in cases of severely high blood pressure, symptoms may develop.
When blood pressure is extremely 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.
Malignant hypertension is dangerous because it can result in fluid in the lungs, brain swelling or bleeding, and strokes.
If blood pressure reaches this level, symptoms are more likely develop.
Symptoms can include severe headaches, vision problems, chest pain and nosebleeds.
Malignant hypertension can be prevented, however, by checking blood pressure and keeping it under control if it is high.
It develops rapidly and is often a result of high blood pressure not being controlled properly.
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.
“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.