This week is Blood Pressure UK’s, ‘Know Your Numbers Week‘. A week dedicated to raising awareness of high blood pressure (hypertension) and encouraging adults to get their blood pressure checked. It’s estimated that over 6 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and don’t know about it which is a pretty scary fact!
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted against the blood vessel walls as the blood flows through the blood vessels and is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg)
There are two readings:
Systolic – This is the first, or top, of the two readings and is the amount of pressure exerted when the blood vessels contract to force blood around the body.
Diastolic – This is the second, or bottom, of the two readings and is the amount of pressure exerted against the blood vessels walls when the blood vessels relax and the heart relaxes between beats.
What Is a Healthy Blood Pressure Reading?
Ideally your blood pressure should be around 120/80 mmHg. Any reading below 90/60 mmHg is classed as low blood pressure (hypotension) and any reading 140/90 mmHg is classed as high blood pressure (hypertension). If your systolic reading is between 120-140, and your diastolic reading is between 80-90, you may be considered to have pre-hypertension. At this stage you are not considered to have high blood pressure, but you may want to make changes to your lifestyle in order for your blood pressure not to increase.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is classes as any reading of 140/90 mmHg. If your blood pressure is too high it may cause additional strain on the heart and blood vessels. High blood pressure can be caused by:
- A diet high in salt
- Being over weight
- Drinking too much alcohol
- A diet high in fat and sugar and low in fruit and vegetables
- Lack of exercise
These are all factors which you can influence and change, however the following can also impact your blood pressure:
- Age – blood pressure tends to rise with age. In England, 5% of 16-24 year olds have high blood pressure, but by the age of 65-74, 58% have high blood pressure.
- Genetics – You are more likely to develop high blood pressure if there is a family history of high blood pressure
- Gender – Up to the age of 65 men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women, but from the age of 64 to 75 women tend to have high blood pressure than men.
What Can High Blood Pressure Cause?
- High cholesterol
- Heart attack and heart failure
- Some forms of dementia
- Kidney disease
Living a healthy, active life with a good balanced diet can help to keep your blood pressure under control. If you need any advice about how the Supersonic Team can support with this then get in touch! We’re happy to help!