Sep 06, 2017

High blood pressure aka the silent killer

Approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure; 30 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men.

It is responsible for approximately 60 per cent of strokes and yet a third of people with it are completely oblivious.

It’s not surprising that it is also linked to diabetes, with about 25 per cent of people with Type 1 diabetes and 80 per cent of people with Type 2 diabetes having high blood pressure. 

It’s a rising problem and one we need to be more aware of.

So the question is, do you know your numbers? 

Blood Pressure UK runs an awareness campaign called “Know Your Numbers!” - with the highlight being Know your Numbers! Week, the UK’s largest annual blood pressure testing and awareness event in the country.  If you want to find out what’s happening in your area and get involved, visit Know Your Numbers Event 2017. You can join the thousands of people across the UK having their blood pressure checked, in the same way as they would their height or weight, whilst learning about the necessary actions needed to be taken to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

So how do you reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure when high blood pressure has no symptoms?  If you don’t know there’s a problem, how or why would you look to correct it?

The secret to tackling this silent killer is awareness and prevention as opposed to a reactive ‘how can I correct it now?’ situation. 

The only real way to know if you are at risk from a stroke or heart disease is to have a blood pressure check and become aware of what is normal and expected for someone of your age; especially as stroke and heart disease among younger adults is increasing.

What is also increasing among younger adults is the desire to lead and maintain a more than healthy lifestyle and, according to a report from PwC, “healthy eating is moving up the consumer agenda thanks to increased media exposure, with millennials leading the charge”. 

A healthy lifestyle is certainly a good starting point to achieving a healthy blood pressure.  This is because high blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking.

Some key tips to achieving healthy eating are to:

  • cut down on the amount of salt in your food
  • eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day
  • choose a low fat diet that includes a lot of fibre
  • select foods with a lower sugar content
  • eat more beans and pulses
  • eat less red and processed meat

For a more detailed look at your diet, you can download our Eatwell Plate here and, if you’re really keen, you can think about joining a healthy eating community to discuss all aspects of nutrition and share good old healthy eating recipes

But a healthy lifestyle, and in turn a healthy blood pressure, is not just down to food alone. We also need to consider exercise!  

It’s obvious that getting active is a good thing, but not so obvious that losing just a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure.  Exercise is great for your heart and simply put, a stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort, reducing the force on your arteries and lowering your blood pressure.  Easy right? But it needs to be a liftestyle change for you to receive the full benefits, as it can take up to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure… and the benefits will only last as long as you exercise.

Having diabetes raises your risk of heart disease, so it’s not a great combination if you also have high blood pressure as well. However, some regular aerobic activity that raises your heart rate will be a welcome addition to your daily activity.  It can be as simple as climbing the stairs or as energetic as a full game of tennis.  Either way, the more active you can be, the happier and healthier your heart will be.  The increasingly popular Couch to 5K programme is also a great place to start.

So with Know Your Numbers! Week fast approaching, it is your chance to join the 250,000 adults nationwide and have your blood pressure checked for free at one of the pressure stations across the UK. Click on the link to find your nearest one and take the step towards knowing your numbers!

And if you need a little help planning meals, getting excerise inspiration and making a life change now, then register for a free account at today.

Do you want to share?