High blood pressure is a common condition affecting one in 3 adults in the UK. As there are not usually any symptoms of the condition, the only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have it measured. Though it doesn’t have any symptoms, high blood pressure can cause serious health issues, including heart disease and stroke. So, it is essential to know your numbers.
What is blood pressure?
When your heart beats, it pumps blood around your body, providing energy and oxygen. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure.
When you have your blood pressure measured, you are given two numbers. The first is the measurement when your heart contracts to pump out blood to your arteries. The second is the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, known medically as hypertension, puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels. This can lead to heart problems such as strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease and even some forms of dementia.
Healthy blood pressure is between 90/60 and 120/80. A measurement higher than 140/90 is diagnosed as hypertension.
What to do if you don’t know your numbers
It is easy to get your blood pressure checked. Your doctor or health centre will be able to do this for you, as will many pharmacies. You can also buy a monitor so you can track your numbers at home.
If you are over 65, have been diagnosed as having hypertension, or you have diabetes, it is essential to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
What causes high blood pressure?
The risk of high blood pressure increases with age, and half of over 65’s have the condition. Your risk is also increased if you have a relative with the condition. Hypertension is also more common in those of African or Caribbean descent.
While these factors are out of your control, there are also lifestyle factors involved. These include being overweight, smoking, eating a poor diet, drinking too much alcohol and not getting enough exercise.
Treatments for high blood pressure
If your blood pressure is high, it is vitally important to take steps to lower it. Even though you may feel fine, hypertension can lead to strokes and heart attacks even if you have no symptoms.
You can make a significant impact on your numbers by living a healthy lifestyle.
Blood pressure-friendly lifestyle
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can make a significant difference to your numbers some tips you should be conscious of are:
- 5 a day
It would be best if you aimed to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as well as plenty of whole grains.
- Reduce salt intake
It would help if you also reduce your salt intake to no more than a teaspoon a day. This means avoiding processed foods that are high in salt, such as bacon, ham and sausages and adding less salt to your meals.
- Cut down on saturated fats.
It is also a good idea to cut down the amount of saturated fat in your diet by reducing the amount of red meat, butter and cheese that you eat.
Exercise is another excellent way to stay healthy as it can help strengthen your heart.
The government recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. If you haven’t exercised for a while, you may need to build up to this amount gradually. If you are currently unfit or have additional health problems, you should consult your doctor before starting an exercise regime.
You should also do some exercise to strengthen your muscles, such as weight-bearing exercises or gardening.
Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight can have a negative impact on your blood pressure. Even a small amount of weight loss can cause a significant improvement in your numbers.
There are medications that are effective at reducing blood pressure. If your doctor advises you to take medication, it is still important to keep active and eat a healthy diet as these factors support your heart and help you stay fit and well.
At Mumby’s, we believe it is important to take a proactive attitude towards health and wellbeing. With this in mind, our carers are trained in a variety of healthcare areas, including exercise and nutrition. This means they are on hand to provide and advise your loved one on the best ways to stay healthy and happy living the lifestyle they choose.
Speak to a member of our team today on freephone 0800 505 3511 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how a member of our care team can assist you or your loved with their homecare needs