Each time the heart beats, blood is pumped through the arteries and veins - the blood vessels of your circulatory system. Arterial blood pressure is created by the force exerted by the blood against the artery walls, as they carry blood around your body. Hypertension refers to a persistent elevation of arterial blood pressure. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when the pressure of the blood being pumped through your arteries is higher than it should be.