Find out the key facts about these two important numbers
What is Hypertension (high blood pressure)?
High blood pressure (Hypertension) is known as the silent killer. Most people do not realise they have it
until something bad happens. Blood pressure measures how strongly the blood presses against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. If this pressure is too high, it puts strain on your arteries and heart, making you more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.
A normal blood pressure reading should be less than 140/90. The top/first number (systolic pressure) is the pressure within your arteries when your heart contracts; and the second/bottom number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure when your heart is between beats. Anything consistently over the range of 140/90 means your blood pressure is in the high range and could mean you have hypertension.
WHO IS AT RISK
You are at increased risk of high blood pressure if you:
- Have a relative with high blood pressure
- Eat a lot of salt
- Don’t get enough fruit and vegetables
- Don’t do enough exercise
- Drink a lot of caffeine (coffee or other caffeine-based drinks)
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Over the age of 65
If you fall into any of these groups, consider making changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of high blood pressure.
High blood pressure needs to be closely monitored until it is brought under control. Your Doctor will usually suggest changes to your lifestyle and potentially medication to achieve this. You can have your blood pressure monitored by your Doctor, practice nurse or local pharmacy.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure
It’s important to understand your blood pressure and what it means. Click the link below to learn more and find out places you can get your blood pressure checked. Remember you can use health kiosks to find this out of your site has one.
Blood Pressure Information Hub
Here are a few of the key factors that affect your blood pressure. Carry on reading to learn more.
A diet high in salt can cause raised blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that's around 1 teaspoon. However, some food labels may only state the sodium content. Don't confuse salt and sodium figures. To convert sodium to salt, you need to multiply the sodium amount by 2.5. For example, 1g of sodium per 100g is 2.5 grams of salt per 100g.
Adults should eat no more than 2.4g of sodium per day, as this is equal to 6g of salt.
You don't have to add salt to your food to eat too much of it – around 75% of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals.
Remember, whether you're eating at home, cooking or eating out, don't add salt to your food automatically – taste it first.
Look out for the salt content in the everyday foods you buy, and choose lower-salt options. Nutrition labels on food packaging now make this a lot easier.
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart. While it doesn’t directly influence your blood pressure, it causes your arteries to narrow just like high blood pressure does, so this means the narrowing will happen much more quickly. This means you’re at a much higher risk of heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack or stroke. Plus there are lots of other health risk associated with smoking. Click here [link to smoking cessation page] to find out more
Staying active helps keep your heart strong and your blood pressure in check. This in turn reduces your risk of other heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack or stroke. In fact, being active reduces your risk of these diseases by 35%!
Exercise helps reduce your blood pressure by strengthening your heart, meaning it can pump blood with less effort. This reduced the amount of pressure in your arteries.
Click here to learn more about being more active