An overwhelming 5 million people go undiagnosed with high blood pressure, yet it affects more than 1 in 4 adults alone in the UK. It is one of the biggest risk factors for premature death and disability.
High blood pressure is related to many diseases including heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia, and chronic kidney disease. High blood pressure also known as Hypertension is especially dangerous since it often gives no warning signs or symptoms. However, you can find out if you have high blood pressure by having a regular check-up routine. If it is higher than the normal range, you can take steps to lower it. Just as important, if your blood pressure is normal, you can learn how to keep it from rising.
What is Hypertension?
In simple terms, blood pressure is the amount of force exerted against the walls of the arteries as blood flows within them. However, in Hypertension, the walls of the arteries receive too much pressure repeatedly. To confirm the diagnosis of hypertension, the pressure needs to be chronically elevated for a sustainable period.
What is the normal range for blood pressure?
Blood pressure is usually divided into five categories:
Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Systolic mmHg 90 or less, or
- Diastolic mmHg 60 or less
- Systolic mmHg 90-119, and
- Diastolic mmHg 60-79
- Systolic mmHg 120-139, and
- Diastolic mmHg 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension
- Systolic mmHg 140-159, and
- Diastolic mmHg 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension
- Systolic mmHg over 160, and
- Diastolic mmHg over 100
What are the symptoms?
Hypertension is known to be a ‘Silent Killer’ with no specific symptoms or signs. The only way you get to know that you are suffering from it is getting it measured on regular basis. The symptoms listed below are more general in nature; however, if you experience too many of them repeatedly, you should visit a Blood pressure check service center.
- A headache – usually, this will last for several days.
- Nausea – a sensation of unease and discomfort in the stomach with an urge to vomit.
- Vomiting – less common than just nausea.
- Dizziness – Lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.
- Blurred or double vision (diplopia).
- Epistaxis – nosebleeds.
- Palpitations – disagreeable sensations of an irregular and forceful beating of the heart.
- Dyspnea – breathlessness, shortness of breath.
Bad in the long run? Indeed!
If the blood pressure rises too high above the normal limit, then one needs immediate medical attention. However, with regular exercise and dietary changes, preventing high blood pressure is possible. Follow these simple tips for healthy blood pressure:
Adopt a Healthy Diet
Reducing the salt intake in your food and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is highly recommended.
Salt directly affects your blood pressure. The higher the salt intake, the higher your blood pressure. Adapting to a low-fat diet that includes lots of fiber – such as wholegrain rice, bread and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps reduce blood pressure. Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Cut on the alcohol intake
Regularly drinking alcohol above recommended limits can raise your blood pressure over time. Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week regularly.
Shed those extra pounds
Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
If you do need to reduce some weight, implementing it will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
Being physically active and practicing regular exercise helps lower blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition. It also helps you lose weight, which in turn will also help lower your blood pressure. Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week.
Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.
Cut down on caffeine
Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure.
If you’re a big fan of coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.
Smoking doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure, but it puts you at much greater risk of a heart attack and stroke.
Smoking, like high blood pressure, will harden the arteries thus making it narrow. If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly, and your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.
Get a regular sleep-wake pattern
Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with a rise in blood pressure and an increased risk of hypertension. It’s advised to get at least six hours of sleep a night.