It is far better to have low blood pressure than it is to have high. Known as the silent killer because its symptoms aren’t obvious, around 30% of us in the UK have high blood pressure.
If left untreated high blood pressure can increase the risk of a heart attack, or a stroke. It’s something that needs to be checked every 5 years. If after two or three readings your blood pressure measures 140/90 or higher, you are said to have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). A normal blood pressure reading should be below 130/80.
Anyone with a family history of high blood pressure can be at risk, but as we age, our chances of having high blood pressure increase.
Other factors include:
- Being overweight;
- Consuming too much alcohol;
- Being over 65;
- Consuming too much salt;
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables;
- Not exercising enough.
To bring high blood pressure down to a controllable level, we must maintain a better lifestyle, introduce more exercise, consume less salt and cut back on alcohol. It’s usually a poor lifestyle that triggers high blood pressure. Anyone with a consistently high reading must be closely monitored, until their blood pressure is brought back under control.
Medication may not always be needed if high blood pressure can be controlled by a better lifestyle, but in any event, a better lifestyle is something we should all be trying to achieve.
Our doctor or physician will usually advise us which way to go.