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High Blood Pressure FAQs

Posted in General Health 23 Sep, 2015

How much do you really know about blood pressure? Let's take a look.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

This refers to the force with which your blood is pounding against the walls of your arteries. If the pressure is too high it can put a strain on your heart and blood vessels. Think of a heavy British downpour bouncing off the ground, and what would happen in terms of erosion if it rained like that all the time… that's what high blood pressure does to your insides.

If it's not reduced then you're at increased risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. It can also lead to kidney disease, dementia and eye problems.

What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

Your blood pressure is measured in two ways. The rate at which it pumps with your heartbeat is the systolic pressure, and the rate when it whooshes back before the next beat is the diastolic pressure.

Systolic pressure can range from 90-250 and the diastolic from 60-140. A standard 'safe' number is 120/80 or preferably less. If you are at 140/90 then you'll be classed as having high blood pressure. That may seem only a little bit higher than safe levels, but it's enough to cause damage.

When Should You Get It Checked?

High blood pressure is known as the 'silent killer' because there are no symptoms, it not like we can take a look at our pumping heart and arteries each morning after our Bran Flakes. Everyone should know what their blood pressure level is, but the high risk groups are:

  • - Over 55s - as we age the arteries harden, making it more difficult for blood to squeeze through.
  • - The overweight
  • - Those experiencing extreme stress and anxiety
  • - Anyone who doesn't exercise regularly
  • - Regular drinkers
  • - Smokers (smokers appear in every 'bad' list - you ought to stop it really)

Is High Blood Pressure That Bad?

Yes and double yes. It's thought that 1 in 3 of all adults in the UK have high blood pressure, and not just after Question Time. 125,000 adults here have a stroke or heart attack that is influenced by high blood pressure every year. The sad thing is that many are preventable.

High blood pressure is the UK's biggest killer and reason for disability.

What Is White Coat Syndrome?

It's when your blood pressure rises because you're faced with a doctor. It's a real issue that health professionals are aware of. If you feel anxious - tell your doctor. No stiff upper lip required.

What Can You Do About High Blood Pressure?

You need to make some life changes. Give up smoking and eat well to keep your weight down. Exercise and take care of your mental health.

There's no reason why you can't ask for a blood pressure test next time you visit your GP, even if you have no symptoms. It's a simple inflatable band around your upper arm. You can even pretend you're at the seaside.

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