What is it?
As blood is pumped by the heart around the body, the pressure with which it pushes against the walls of blood vessels changes. Your blood pressure is high if the reading is higher than 140⁄90. That is, you have high blood pressure if the higher figure is higher than 140, or the lower figure is higher than 90, or both.
What are the symptoms?
High blood pressure does not usually cause any obvious symptoms. Symptoms can occur in rare cases where a person has a very high blood pressure level so it is good to be aware of these. The symptoms may include: * headaches * blurred or double vision * regular nosebleeds * shortness of breath Visit your GP as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
Regular blood pressure checks for over over 40’s
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked. Blood pressure checks are usually available on request at most GP surgeries and health clinics. Some surgeries have home monitoring devices available, which you may be able to use at the time of blood pressure medication start up or change. Many also have a policy of arranging regular checks for you. Adults who are over 40 and have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. However, your blood pressure should ideally be checked more frequently, particularly if you have any contributory risk factors.
- Exercise: Remember that little activity is better than no activity at all. Be physically active and exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
- Diet: Reduce your intake of salt. Include fresh vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy products, food low in saturated and trans fat, whole grains and lean meat, fish and poultry.
- Lose weight: Reduce your weight to within a healthy range for your height to prevent obesity and metabolic syndrome.
- Home-monitoring of Blood Pressure: Regularly monitor your blood pressure at home by devices that are easy to use.
- Try to relax each day by meditation or yoga, or perform any activity that will help you relax.
- Quit smoking, if you smoke.
- Do not drink alcohol.
- Try not to add too much salt to your cooking and remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Don’t stress, it’s not good for your body to constantly be exposed to stress hormones.
Things to watch out for
Get your blood pressure tested at GP or at some pharmacies. GP should be contacted If the condition remains persistent to avoid any serious and potentially life-threatening conditions.