Hypertension is a high resting arterial blood pressure. The problem with defining hypertension as a disease state rises from the fact that, in the population, blood pressure varies from person to person with the distribution approaching that of a Bell curve.

There is evidence that having a higher blood pressure predisposes you to having a higher risk of stroke, myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and renal (kidney) damage but the problem is determining the cutoff level.

The currently accepted values for saying someone is hypertensive is a blood pressure that is either above 140 mmHg systolic or above 90 diastolic or both.

Current medical guidelines suggest that anyone with a blood pressure exceeding these values should be treated.