What is blood pressure?

To carry nutrition and oxygen to the organs the heart pumps blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is the amount of force that the heart uses to pump blood through the arteries. Therefore, blood pressure is important to keep the blood moving around the body, and the pressure is likely to fluctuate up and down depending on stress, exercise and sleep.

Why is knowing my blood pressure important?

Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure but may not realise it. It is the most common cause of heart and circulatory diseases including heart attacks or strokes. Medically known as Hypertension, high blood pressure means that your blood pressure is permanently too high, putting the blood vessels, heart, and other organs, including the brain, kidneys, and eyes, under additional stress.

To accommodate the ups and downs in blood pressure, arteries are usually stretchy. However, high blood pressure means arteries grow stiff or constricted – losing their flexibility and making it easier for fatty material to clog them up.

Are there ways to manage my blood pressure?

Yes! There are different ways to help you to reduce your blood pressure. Reducing high blood pressure by even a small amount will help to reduce the risk of health conditions. Therefore, it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly and know the following symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath

Most people get high blood pressure as a result of their diet, way of life, or a medical condition. High blood pressure can run in families in some cases and get worse as people age. If you are black African or black Caribbean origin, it is also more prevalent.

Listed below are some lifestyle habits that can be minimised to reduce the risk of high blood pressure:

  • Drinking alcohol or caffeine-based drinks
  • Smoking
  • Not taking enough exercise
  • Eating too much salt / not having a balanced diet
  • Not getting enough sleep

How can I check my blood pressure?

A blood pressure test is the only way to determine if you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure should be checked at least every five years for all persons over 40. It’s simple to do this, and it may well save your life.

For more information, visit the British Heart Foundation website.