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Hypertension increases your risk of having a heart attack and stroke. It can also cause kidney failure, heart failure, problems with your sight and vascular dementia. Fortunately, there are a number of things which can help lower your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is defined as the force put on your blood vessels and organs as blood is pumped around your body by your heart.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control,” says the NHS.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says that high blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, though there are some possible symptoms of high blood pressure.
A key one of these is blurred vision, which can be a warning sign that your blood pressure is too high.
Other possible symptoms include nosebleeds, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and headaches.
There will not always be an explanation for high blood pressure, though most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition.
Indeed, the BHF says that more than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure but many will not know they have it.
The charity states: “Many people with high blood pressure feel fine. But even if you feel fine, you should still have your blood pressure checked regularly.”
If you’re a healthy adult over 40, it’s recommended that you get it checked at least once every five years.
If you’re at increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have it checked more often, ideally once a year.
The NHS says: “Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.”
It says you should reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet, cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine, and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking.
Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take medicines. The BHF advises: “If you are already being treated for high blood pressure and have any concerns about it, you should make an appointment with your GP.
“Do not stop taking your medication unless your GP tells you to.”
It adds that most people need to take more than one type of medicine to lower their blood pressure.
“Research suggests that taking two or more medicines often has a much better effect than taking just one,” the charity says.
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