Posted on September 11, 2020 by Jenny Cromack
This week is Blood Pressure UK’s, ‘Know Your Numbers Week’. A week dedicated to raising awareness of high blood pressure and encouraging people to get theirs checked. The NHS describe blood pressure as a measure of force that your heart uses / requires to pump blood around your body.
When we measure blood pressure, we get two numbers, these are your systolic and diastolic pressure. The first number (the highest) is your systolic pressure and this is the pressure when your heart is pumping out blood. The lower number is the diastolic pressure and this is the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
A general guide of ‘ideal’ blood pressure is usually between 90/60mmHg – 120/80mmHg.
- High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
- Low blood pressure is 90/60mmHg or lower.
Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular deaths and strokes. It also increases the risk of heart attacks, kidney disease, heart failure and other health problems. It can be developed through a poor diet, especially one high in saturated fat and low in fruit and veg and unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, being overweight, high consumption of alcohol.
You can develop symptoms from high blood pressure such as:
- Feeling sick or unwell
- Blood shot eyes
Unlike some other chronic illnesses, there are very effective ways of treating high blood pressure available as well as clear evidence of the benefits. For the general population treatment to lower blood pressure can reduce the occurrence of strokes and myocardial infarction (heart attack). Lifestyle changes & medication are usually the common treatment for high blood pressure patients, but you can aid the process and prevent the development of high blood pressure too.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Losing weight (if overweight/obese)
- Follow a regular exercise routine
- Stop smoking
- Improve general health with nutrition
- Reduce & manage stress
Hypotension (low blood pressure) may not always show symptoms but if you do experience any you should consult a doctor.
Symptoms include things such as
- Dizziness / lightheaded
- Feeling weak
- Blurred vision
It’s rare the medicine is given out for low blood pressure as lifestyle changes are extremely effective as well as finding the cause.
Although the health problems are much lower with low blood pressure (lower risk of heart disease and stroke) it can be dangerous if experiencing these symptoms. It can also be caused due to an underlying health issue such as anaemia, shock, neurological conditions and more so it’s always the best idea to get checked by a GP!
You can get your blood pressure checked at your GP surgery, pharmacies or at home if you have a monitor.