All this week is Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know Your Numbers! Week’ which is about raising awareness of the importance of blood pressure monitoring and health benefits.
High blood pressure is something some of us unknowingly live with. It is something that can go unnoticed as there are usually no symptoms. So, getting your blood pressure checked regularly is important.
What is normal blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and 2 figures are given. The first is systolic pressure which measures pressure when the heart beats. The second is diastolic pressure which is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats.
High blood pressure is known as hypertension, this means your heart is working harder to pump blood. An ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. High blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or higher and low blood pressure is 90/60mmHg or lower.
Causes, prevention and treatment of high blood pressure
In the majority of cases, there is no underlying cause however, it can be attributed to being overweight, smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, lack of exercise, excessive salt in the diet and a family history of hypertension. Secondary hypertension is where there is a direct cause such as kidney disease, adrenal tumours or pregnancy induced hypertension.
You can reduce the risk of getting high blood pressure by losing any extra weight, stopping smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, exercising frequently, reducing salt intake and eating a balanced diet.
Treatment of high blood pressure will involve a change in lifestyle and, often, medication which would be assessed and controlled by your GP.
Risks of untreated hypertension
It is vital that high blood pressure is caught early as it can increase the risk of developing serious medical conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, heart failure and sight problems.
It is therefore important that your blood pressure is checked to reduce these risks. Know Your Numbers! Week 2019 is taking place 9-15 September. There will be hundreds of Pressure Stations across the UK where health professionals will be offering free blood pressure checks. To find out more, please click on the link here: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/kyn/Home/AboutKYN/KYN2019