Usually our blogs are more tailored towards employers and how they can face issues employees may have. However, as it’s officially ‘Know Your Numbers! Week’ from www.bloodpressureuk.org we thought some general education on blood pressure would be handy to everyone, not just employers!
Many people live with blood pressure problems without being aware of it, there are often no symptoms, it can be a serious issue and underlying cause of possible fatal problems such as heart attack and stroke. It’s also one of the main factors in heart and kidney disease. According to Blood Pressure UK, 125,000 adults suffer a heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure.
What is blood pressure?
In brief, it’s basically a measurement of the pressure of blood pushing against the sides of your arteries as it’s pumped around your body. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. For example, 120/80mmHg or 120 over 80 as it’s more commonly phrased.
- Systolic pressure (the first number) is the measure of pressure from your heart pushing your blood around your body
- Diastolic (the second number) is the measure of pressure from your heart when it relaxes between beats.
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or less, and ideally the lower the better. The table shown illustrates different levels of blood pressure, taking into account both numbers. If you’re in the ‘pre-high blood pressure’ region, you really should start thinking about taking steps to improve your numbers and stop it increasing further.
If your numbers are in the ‘high blood pressure’ range, if you haven’t already, then you should consult your doctor about potential causes and treatments.
5 tips on lowering blood pressure
If you have blood pressure that’s higher than it ideally should be, the good news is that you can do something about it:
Just 30 minutes of moderate activity that gets your heart pumping harder at least 5 times a week is a good start. It gives your heart an exercise as well as helping your arteries stay flexible.
- Watch your weight
Lose those extra pounds and stay within a healthy weight range – your GP or nurse will be able to confirm what a healthy range is for you.
- Reduce your salt intake
Salt increases your blood pressure, so it’s worth cutting down on processed foods and avoid adding salt to your meals.
- Eat lots of fruit and veg
Aim for at least five different portions a day. It’s worth remembering that fruit and veg contain potassium with the added benefit of counteracting the effect of salt.
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking more than the recommended limits can slowly increase your blood pressure over time. Try and limit yourself to no more than 14 units a week or 2-3 units per day for both men and women.
Monitoring and treatment
It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly by your GP or nurse. You can also get monitoring devices to help you keep track of your blood pressure at home too. These are useful to check your progress when following the steps above.
If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may prescribe medication to help keep it under control. There are various medications available and you may need to try different types to get the one that best suits you.
It’s important to keep on top of your medication and take it at regular intervals. For the best effect, it’s wise to adopt a healthier lifestyle too as explained in the tips above.
Remember, it always important to seek professional medical advice from your GP or nurse, if you do need attention. As helpful as our blog is, we are no experts! If you need more information on blood pressure, please visit: https://www.bloodpressureuk.org
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