In anticipation of World Hypertension Day, it is important to raise awareness about 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 one’s blood pressure checked regularly is important. This may be difficult to do in these uncertain times.
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 the 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.
One can reduce the risk of getting high blood pressure by losing any extra weight, stopping smoking, drinking less alcohol, 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 a person’s 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 vitally important that blood pressure is checked to reduce this risk.