This week – we want you to find out! It’s Know Your Numbers Week, organised by Blood Pressure UK, to encourage people to find out their blood pressure numbers, and take action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
But what exactly IS blood pressure? What’s a healthy number? Why is it so important for our overall health? And most importantly, how can you take steps to improve/maintain a healthy blood pressure? LOTS of questions, but don’t worry, we’re here to answer!
? What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force the heart uses to pump blood around your body and how hard the blood is pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. This is read through two numbers – systolic (top), which measures the force and diastolic (bottom), which measures the pressure on the blood vessels.
The ideal blood pressure reading is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
? What if my blood pressure is high?
More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension).
Generally high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels. Over time, this can negatively affect the heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes and lead to an array of health conditions such as; heart failure, coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
So it’s important to do everything we can to maintain a healthy blood pressure reading to minimise the risk of these conditions.
?How do I know if my blood pressure is too high?
If you do have high blood pressure (hypertension), there will usually be no symptoms, so it is important to get your readings taken regularly! That’s why Blood Pressure UK are running the “Know your Numbers” campaign this week! On their website, you can find a ‘Pressure Station’ near you, where you can go for a free, quick and pain-free blood pressure check.
?What causes hypertension?
Certain risk factors of hypertension are outside of your control (things like your age, gender, ethnicity and genetics). But there are also lifestyle factors than can lead to high blood pressure (things like being overweight, eating a poor diet, high salt intake and living a inactive lifestyle). So, the good news is, that by making some small changes like eating a healthier diet and getting more exercise, you may be able to lower your blood pressure and therefore reduce your risk of ill-health.