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Know Your Blood Pressure

Understanding blood pressure is crucial, yet many of us are unaware of its significance. Approximately 6 million people in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure (hypertension) which often presents no symptoms. Knowing your blood pressure is as important as knowing your height and weight and can lead to a healthier, longer life.

What is blood pressure?

Imagine your heart as a pump and your arteries as pipes. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of these pipes as it circulates through your body.

Decoding the numbers

Blood pressure is highly variable and will change throughout the day. It is measured with two numbers. The first, or upper number, is the systolic blood pressure, indicating the pressure when your heart beats. The second, or lower number, is the diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure when your heart rests between beats.

The British Heart Foundation recommends that blood pressure should be under 140/90mmHg at rest when taken at a surgery. However, readings obtained at home or through ambulatory monitoring offer a more accurate assessment, with targets set below 135/85mmHg. Lowering blood pressure reduces strain on arteries and the heart, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The risks of high blood pressure

Hypertension is like high water pressure in pipes: over time, excessive force can cause significant damage, increasing the risk of stroke, aneurysms, heart disease and kidney failure.

The silent threat

Hypertension is often called “the silent killer” as it rarely presents symptoms yet is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes in the UK. Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can increase your risk with millions in the UK living with undiagnosed hypertension.

Whilst some people are at a higher risk of hypertension, most people develop it due to their diet, lifestyle or medical conditions.

Preventing high blood pressure

Fortunately, hypertension can often be treated or prevented with the following lifestyle adjustments:

  • reduce your salt intake and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables
  • stop smoking
  • limit your alcohol consumption
  • lead an active lifestyle
  • maintain a healthy weight (Monika Siemicka, our Clinical Dietitian, shares her ideas to building healthy dietary habits here)

One of the simplest steps you can take is knowing your blood pressure numbers. At Preventicum, our health assessments start with your vital observations; we measure and note your height, weight, BMI, resting heart rate and blood pressure. When we combine these details with the information we gather from your doctor consultations, advanced MRI and ultrasound scans and exercise stress echocardiogram, we can build a detailed picture of your overall health and develop a personalised plan to reduce your risk of hypertension.

Be in control of your