What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is also called hypertension; this increases the risks of stroke, heart attack and heart failure. There are no symptoms for high blood pressure so the only way to find out is to use a blood pressure machine. You can either go to your doctors or buy one that is approved by the British Hypertension Society. They are easy to use and you can keep an eye on it yourself but see your GP if there are any concerns.

The effects of high blood pressure means there is more strain on the blood vessels causing them to clog up or even weaken, this will eventually develop clots that will damage the brain, heart and cause kidney failure.

How to lower blood pressure?


If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure then your doctor will monitor you very closely with regular check ups. Medication might be the best way to lower high blood pressure but there are also drug-free ways. To do this you need to have a healthy lifestyle. Try to incorporate exercise into everyday life. When preparing meals try to eat more vegetables and reduce salt intake.  Find out if you’re the ideal weight for your height, if not try eating sensibly, cutting out alcohol and stop smoking to see if this has reduced high blood pressure. In some cases this will mean that you may not need to take tablets to control high blood pressure.

If high blood pressure is not treated your risks of stroke, kidney disease, heart failure and even dementia is increased. There are even reports of some eye conditions linked to high blood pressure.

How is blood pressure measured?


There are now two ways to measure blood pressure, the first is using a device called a sphygmomanometer and the second is by using a digital machine. Most places including doctor’s surgeries and even theatres use digital machines as they give a more accurate reading. Sphygmomanometer’s are very old and use a column of mercury to measure blood pressure but this has been proven to be inaccurate. To be sure that you really have high blood pressure the readings are taken three times.

White coat hypertension


Many people can get very anxious when going to see their GP, even if it is just a routine check up involving a blood pressure check. If the reading is high and the patient is perfectly young and healthy after checking a few times the GP will find that there is nothing to worry about as the patient suffers from ‘white coat hypertension’.  This mean you are not suffering from high blood pressure, just the thought of going to the doctors has made you nervous.

Is high blood pressure hereditary?


High blood pressure can run in the family and if one of your parents have it, then you too are most likely to develop it later in life.

There are steps you can take to make sure that you do not develop high blood pressure, but before making any drastic changes to your lifestyle remember to consult your GP first.