High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for developing heart disease, working alongside major contributors such as diabetes, cholesterol and other lifestyle factors. Many people in the UK do not realise that they may be undiagnosed with the problem, so ought to learn about blood pressure to identify the signs, as well as measures to lower it.
The only way to know whether or not you have high blood pressure is to get a doctor to measure it. Everyone over 40 ought to get their levels taken by a nurse as part of an assessment for circulatory disease, though if you are known to have nosebleeds or dizzy spells, it should also be investigated.
High blood pressure, known to the medical community as hypertension, means that blood pressure is consistently above what it should be – it is not a case of peaks and troughs. While it is not something that you can feel, the heart may become abnormally large over time and beat less effectively, causing poor circulation and the increased likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
There’s no single cause for high blood pressure, but many things can play a part. A low level of physical activity is always a major contributor, as is being overweight or obese. Too much salt in your diet has been identified as a bad thing for blood pressure for many years, forcing companies to lower their addition of it to ready meals and pre-prepared foods. Other more obvious contributors include too much alcohol, smoking, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and a family history of high blood pressure.
It stands to reason, then, that there are a number of ways to counteract the associated threats of high blood pressure. Firstly, increasing your physical activity is great; start walking more, for example, or spend some time at a gym every two or three days. This will help lose weight, which also lowers the likelihood of the problematic health issue. Reducing the amount of salt in your diet and cutting down on alcohol are major steps towards helping sustain a happy heart.
If blood pressure is very high and these measures do not help, a doctor may prescribe you medication to control it and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. However, a better lifestyle is always a better route to securing a more comfortable, and healthy, future – consider your options and the ways you can enjoy life for longer.