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What you need to know about High Blood Pressure

May 3, 2024

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries when your heart pumps. It varies from person to person. Even for the same individual, blood pressure may vary from time to time, for instance, when one gets angry versus when one is relaxed.

When a person’s blood pressure is consistently at 140/90mmHg or higher, he/she is said to have high blood pressure.

According to the National Population Health Survey 2022, over one in three Singaporeans between age 18 to 74 years has hypertension (or persistent high blood pressure), an increase from 35.5% in 2020 to 37.0% in 2022.

The increase in crude prevalence during 2022 was found in those aged 50 to 59 years (49.7% to 53.7%) and those aged 60 to 69 years (61.9% to 64.3%), among males and all education levels, and for Chinese (36.1% to 37.3%) and Malays (37.5% to 40.5%) compared to 2020.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition in which the heart has to pump harder for blood to flow through narrowed blood vessels, leading to persistently raised pressure. Expressed as a fraction of two numbers, blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). The first number is the systolic blood pressure, i.e. the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pumps blood to the rest of the body. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure, which is registered as the heart relaxes and its chambers open, filling with blood.

Blood Pressure Readings


Systolic BP (mmHg)

Less than 130 and

Diastolic BP (mmHg)

Less than 85

A normal blood pressure reading would be less than 130/85mmHg. At this stage, no treatment is required, but it is recommended to continue monitoring to ensure that we do not develop high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is in the normal range, you should measure it at least once every 2 years.

In a young healthy woman, normal blood pressure may vary from 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg.

If you have diabetes or kidney disease, you must aim to keep your blood pressure within 120/80mmHg as marginally higher blood pressure can increase your risk of developing complications. 


Systolic BP (mmHg)

130-139 and/or

Diastolic BP (mmHg)


Individuals with borderline high blood pressure of 130/85 to 139/89mmHg are considered pre-hypertensive. If your BP is higher than 130/85mmHg most of the time, even at rest, it is a sign to start taking precautions and follow your doctor’s advice to manage your blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are strongly recommended.

If your blood pressure is between 130-139/85-89 mmHg, you should have an annual check.


Systolic BP (mmHg)

140 or greater and/or

Diastolic BP (mmHg)

90 or greater

If your systolic pressure is 140mmHg or more, and/or diastolic pressure is 90mmHg or more when measured on two or more occasions, you may be suffering from high blood pressure.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease,  diabetes or kidney disease, you need to measure your blood pressure at least once a week to keep it in check.

Note: Your blood pressure reading may vary depending on what you are doing – body position, breathing, emotional state, exercise, and sleep.