Nearly one in three people in the UK has high blood pressure, but how do you know if yours is high, and how can you prevent it?
High blood pressure – or hypertension as doctors often refer to it – is a very common medical condition. In the UK, it is the biggest known cause of disability and premature death through stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Nearly one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure and every day 350 people have a preventable stroke or heart attack caused by the condition.
In most cases, whilst there is no identifiable cause for their hypertension, it has been proven that lifestyle conditions such as smoking, being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and drinking too much alcohol can all contribute to a rise. Around five per cent of high blood pressure cases are caused by kidney disease, hormone disorders, a narrowing of the aorta or as a side effect of medicines including steroids and the contraceptive pill, or a condition called pre-eclampsia which can occur in pregnancy.
The good news is that high blood pressure is treatable and can be controlled with medication. You can also prevent it and reduce it yourself by taking steps to lead a healthier lifestyle – and crucially – by having regular blood pressure checks.
What is blood pressure?
When your heart pumps blood around your body, the blood pushes against the sides of blood vessels creating pressure. This is known as blood pressure. If the pressure is too high, it puts your arteries and heart under strain.
What should my numbers be?
Blood pressure is considered to be high if the numbers are 140/90mmHg or above.
Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg and low blood pressure (known as hypotension) is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.
The good news is that high blood pressure is treatable and can be controlled with medication. You can also help to prevent it and reduce it yourself by taking steps to lead a healthier lifestyle it is also recommended to have regular blood pressure checks.
6 tips to help you reduce your blood pressure:
- Control your weight
- Take regular aerobic exercise
- Cut down on salt intake to less than 6g a day
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Give up smoking
- Cut down on alcohol