High Blood Pressure effects 1 in 4 adults in the UK so it is something we should all be conscious of. Hypertension is known as the silent killer as it often has little or no symptoms for those who are affected by it.
Below we dispel some of the most common myths about High Blood Pressure & share some truths about what else can impact your readings.
It is nothing to worry about – initially it is likely that you will have no noticeable symptoms of high blood pressure, so you may not be concerned. However, having high blood pressure can lead to damage of your blood vessel, heart, and kidneys. It can also lead to Heart disease, cause strokes and heart attacks.
It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, if you do have hypertension there are ways to manage it and bring it back to safer levels even a small change can make a big difference to your risk factors.
You Can’t Prevent Yourself from Getting it – Do some family members have high blood pressure? Are you one of a group of people who are at a higher risk of hypertension? For these and many other reasons you may think that there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it…. Luckily, even if you have many risk factors there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk
- Eat a healthy and well balanced diet. Keep sugar and fat to a minimum, reduce your salt intake and have plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Keep your weight at a healthy level
- Limit how much alcohol you drink and avoid smoking Tobacco including keeping your exposure to second-hand smoke to a minimum
- Keep Active – try to take 10,000 steps a day. Sounds like a challenge but simple changes like taking the stairs or walking to the shop can help you achieve your daily target.
- Speak to your GP, if you are concerned speak with them for other suggestions on how to manager hypertension.
Salt is to blame… this is half true and false. If you eat too much white salt in fast or processed foods, your body must dilute the salt by adding more water to your blood. Moving greater volumes of blood makes the heart pump harder. The key here is to cut out ready meals and fast foods and make the change to a healthier, more balanced diet.
So, with some simple changes you can reduce your risk factors and work to lower your blood pressure. To finish off here are two truths about what can affect your blood pressure:
Stress can make it all a lot higher -When we are stressed we automatically increase cholesterol, cortisol, glucose, and blood pressure in response to fear or threat.
White Coat Syndrome is a fact – The stress (see above) of visiting the GP, having to wait around, walking to the Doctors, and even chatting to the GP about your condition can raise your blood pressure. If you are diagnosed, get a blood pressure monitor to use at home so you can show your GP at your check-up appointment what your readings are like when you are in a calm, relaxed environment – you may be surprised at the difference!