High blood pressure (Hypertension)

What should you know about high blood pressure?

Your body needs to maintain your blood pressure to allow your heart to feed your brain with oxygen and to carry nutrients around the body and remove waste products.

If your blood pressure falls beyond a certain level it can pose a danger to your safety as it can prevent the heart from working properly. Equally if your blood pressure becomes too high it can present a risk to the heart and to your blood vessels.

Blood pressure reading

Blood pressure readings are usually presented like this: 130/78 mm Hg. You will hear this being described as "130 over 78".

The first number is your systolic pressure i.e. the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts.
The second number is the diastolic pressure. That is, the pressure in your arteries during the brief moment of rest between heartbeats.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

If your blood pressure reading is regularly at or above 140/90 mm Hg then you are deemed to have high blood pressure. This is also known as hypertension.

An unusually high systolic or diastolic reading on their own can also indicate high blood pressure, although each person is different and your doctor or nurse will take many factors into account before coming to a conclusion.

What does this mean?

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor that can increase your chance of developing heart disease, a stroke and other serious conditions. As a rule, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk.

What can you do to prevent it and improve your self-care?

As with advice on smoking, drinking, weight management and many other lifestyle activities, the guidance is broadly the same:

What if you already have high blood pressure?

If you already have high blood pressure then the advice on prevention is also applicable and will help to lower your blood pressure. See the previous tab.

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure then your GP may also have prescribed you medication to help you manage your condition.

Contact details for local sources of help.

Rushmoor Healthy Living

Delivering a variety of projects across the local community, working together with individuals, groups and companies with the aim of improving people’s health and wellbeing, whether through exercise and rehabilitation classes or through health education.

website: www.rhl.org.uk

email: admin@rhl.org.uk

Tel: 01252 362 660

See our advice pages on leading a healthy lifestyle. Click here.

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