What is Blood Pressure?

Your heart is a hard working muscle which works like a pump to send blood around your body through a complex network of arteries and capillaries and back via your veins.

A lot of force is required with each contraction of the heart muscle (or heart beat) to pump the blood out of your heart, through your lungs where it picks up oxygen and all round your body. A single blood cell can do a full journey through your body, from your heart and back in about 45 seconds, although this might take 50 or 60 beats of your heart.

As blood is pumped through the arteries they stretch a little to accommodate the flow of blood. Your blood pressure is the force of this blood in your body pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart is pumping.

blood circulation

Why do we need blood pressure?

Blood pressure is vital to your circulation.

Your blood needs to move around the whole of your body and reach every part of it, but especially your brain.Your brain needs 750ml of oxygenated blood a minute, 24 hours a day whatever you are doing. If you don’t get enough blood to your brain you feel faint. If your heart stops beating (as in a cardiac arrest) your blood pressure drops to zero and your brain receives no blood at all – this can cause lasting brain damage or death within a few minutes.

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