High Blood Pressure – nearly one in three of us has it and most of us don’t even know..
The ‘Truth about The Silent Killer’
The Silent Killer
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Almost one in three adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many won’t realise it. The older you are, the higher your blood pressure is likely to be.
What is Blood Pressure?
When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As your blood moves, it pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes. It can also affect your kidneys, eyes, brain and other organs.
How you can tell if you have High Blood Pressure?
Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is not usually something that you feel or notice. It doesn’t tend to produce obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to know your blood pressure reading is to have it measured.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is written as two numbers. For example, if your reading is 120/80mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80.
What do these Numbers mean?
Every blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, written together.
The first (or top) number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.
The second (or bottom) number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
As a general guide:
High Blood Pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
Ideal Blood Pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Low Blood Pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or less.
A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Blood Pressure Checks for You and Your Family
Even if you and your family don’t have high blood pressure at the moment, it’s important to keep blood pressure as low as possible. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems.
All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. Getting this done is free and easy, and could save your life. Your blood pressure can be checked by your GP or pharmacist and in some workplaces too. You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
The cause of High Blood Pressure is not always clear but certain things can increase your risk:
You’re at increased risk of High Blood Pressure if you:
- Are over the age of 65
- Are overweight or obese
- Are of African or Caribbean descent
- Have a relative with high blood pressure
- Eat too much salt
- Do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
- Do not take regular exercise
- Drink too much alcohol
- Drink too many coffee or other caffeine based drinks
- Get too little sleep or have disturbed sleep
How to Protect Yourself and Your Family
Protecting yourself is really simple and everyone can do it. The first thing to do is get your Blood Pressure checked.
Then start making some life saving lifestyle changes to keep your blood pressure low:
- Cut out all salt from your cooking and don’t add salt to your food. Within two or three weeks, you won’t miss salt at all.
- Cut down on processed foods as these often contain lots of added salt.
- Try and eat less sugar and cut down on convenience foods such as snack bars etc. as these often contain lots of added sugar.
- Eat as much fruit and as many vegetables as possible. The benefits of fruit and vegetables are enormous, particularly if in their natural state – for example an apple, rather than an apple pie!
- Get active – BootCamp is especially good for lowering blood pressure because of the types of activities that we do, such as resistance training and HIIT. If you haven’t had your Free Trial yet, come along today!
- Put yourself first for once! Take some time out of your busy schedule to look after yourself and your family, and to invest in your long term health – don’t let life get in the way!
Captain Felix Deer joined the Army in 1985 and served in a number of Training Officer roles, qualifying as a Unit Fitness Officer in 1986. Since leaving the Army in 1994, Felix has sold property, built houses and flown airliners for a living, but has always maintained his keen interest in Fitness.