The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it measured – before its too late…
by Ann-Marie Mcshane
In the UK up to 7 million adults have undiagnosed high blood pressure.
The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.
High blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms – earning it the nickname of “the Silent Killer” as people often only discover they have it after having a stroke or heart attack.
Here’s why you should be thinking about getting your blood pressure checked right away:
1. Serious consequences
Uncontrolled high blood pressure causes at least 50% of all heart attacks and strokes and it can also damage your kidneys and heart.
2. No symptoms
High blood pressure rarely shows any symptoms, so it’s no surprise that not enough people are getting their blood pressure checked.
The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to have it measured.
3. You could be at higher risk
Anyone can develop High Blood Pressure but some things put you at more risk. If you belong to one of these groups you have a higher risk of being affected by high blood pressure:
- those over age 60 (although it can affect people at all ages)
- those of Black African and Black Caribbean ethnicity
- those who are overweight or obese
- those who already have a disorder of some kind(e.g. diabetes, kidney disease)
- those who have an unhealthy lifestyle (this includes too much salt intake, lack of exercise, excessive drinking of alcohol, being stressed)
- those who have a family history of high blood pressure
4. You can easily reduce your blood pressure
There are many things you can do to reduce your blood pressure.
If you are found to have high blood pressure, you will be encouraged to make some Lifestyle changes to help reduce it.
That may include increasing your physical activity levels, losing weight, reducing your Salt intake, cutting down on alcohol and eating a healthy balanced diet.
If you Smoke, quitting is the single best thing you can do for your heart health.
If your blood pressure is very high or these lifestyle changes do not reduce it enough, your doctor is likely to prescribe medication to control it it and to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Medication is always to be used as well as living a healthier lifestyle, not as an alternative.
5. Live a longer healthier life
Reducing your blood pressure can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events (stroke, coronary heart disease, etc.)
Even if you don’t have high blood pressure now, making some simple lifestyle changes may help prevent you developing it in the future. And you’ll reap the rewards of a healthier lifestyle straight away.
How to check your blood pressure
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to check your blood pressure.
You can check your heart age or book a free appointment with a Healthy Lifestyles Advisor who can take your blood pressure for feee.
You may already have high blood pressure, in which case you will need to take action immediately.
There are a few different ways to do this: you can be tested by a doctor or nurse during a routine appointment either at your local GP practice or at some pharmacies.
You could also use a self-measurement machine that is available for use in some GP practices or you could order one to keep at home so that you can check regularly in order to keep your mind at rest.
Of course, if you do find that you have hypertension, it is vital that you adopt a healthier lifestyle starting immediately. Contact our Healthy Lifestyles team for clear advice about how you can live a healthier life that’s built around you, and your needs.