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Posted: 12:00am by & filed under Health

High blood pressure, sometimes referenced as “the silent killer” because it often has no symptoms yet can be extremely serious.
 
If left untreated, high blood pressure can significantly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It can also damage the kidneys, brain and other organs and increase your risk of developing a number of serious long-term health conditions.
 
However, in order to be treated, high blood pressure must first be detected and diagnosed. For many people it is picked up on during routine medical checks, but if you are generally healthy you might have high blood pressure without even knowing it. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. You can have it done at your local doctor or many local pharmacies now offer a free blood pressure check service.
 
So what is blood pressure? Put simply, it is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body. Nowadays most blood pressure monitors have a digital display and are easy to use.
 
A blood pressure check will give you two readings one being the ‘systolic pressure’ and the other, ’diastolic pressure’. Systolic is the pressure when your heart pumps blood out, while diastolic is the pressure when your heart is at rest, between beats. Your blood pressure numbers can vary due to age, medical conditions or outside influences such as stress. No matter the reason, it is generally important to keep a regular check on them. If you check your own blood pressure at home and are concerned at the results you should consult your doctor, especially if your numbers are high.
 
Various types of medication are available to treat high blood pressure, but a healthy low-fat, low-sodium diet with lots of fiber can significantly lower your blood pressure. Increasing the amount of regular exercise you do will also reduce your blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition. Although smoking doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure, it puts you at much higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. Cutting down on caffeine and alcohol, avoiding stress and getting a good night’s sleep will also all help to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
 
The key thing is not to ignore blood pressure. If you haven’t had yours checked for a while, it is easy to arrange with your doctor or local pharmacy, or to do yourself with a home monitor. For more NHS information about high blood pressure, just click here.
 
Please consult your doctor for your individual requirements.

 

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