High blood pressure (Hypertension) is becoming an ever increasing problem for the UK population and if left untreated can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Often known as the ‘silent killer’, high blood pressure has no symptoms - you only know you have it if you get your blood pressure checked. But what is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in mm of mercury (mmHg) and is made up of two values:
- Systolic pressure – the pressure your blood is at when the heart pumps it out
- Diastolic pressure – the pressure your blood is at in between heart beats when the heart is at rest
So if you have your blood pressure checked and the reading is ‘130 over 80’, this means the systolic pressure is 130 and the diastolic pressure is 80.
A high reading is classed as 140/90mmHg and you will be medically diagnosed as having hypertension. As a result, your Doctor may want to start you on medication to bring your blood pressure down. However, there are ways you can help yourself to prevent and treat hypertension – these include:
- Stop smoking
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Eat healthily and make sure your diet has a reduced amount of salt
- Reduce your intake of caffeine
- Increased the amount of exercise you do, become more active
There are some people more at risk of high blood pressure than others – for example, if there is a history of high blood pressure in your family, you are of African or Caribbean descent, you have diabetes and, also, if you are aged over 65.
As high blood pressure can be caused by narrowing of the arteries, changing your diet is a good idea. Reducing your intake of processed and fatty foods, which are heavily laden with salt and fat, is a good place to start.
In addition to dietary and lifestyle changes, you may want to monitor your BP yourself – so if you have been diagnosed with hypertension you can monitor the effects of any lifestyle changes you have made on your blood pressure. Or you can check if your blood pressure medication is working.
Ideally measure your blood pressure when you relaxed and sat down and try to measure it at the same time each day. Sit up straight, with your legs uncrossed – and get a friend or relative to take it for you.
To help you keep a check on your BP, Dialachemist stock a range of home blood pressure testing machines and right now we are offering these with a 20% discount off the list price. Visit our website and order yours today.