What is Hypertension?
Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries as it is pumped around your heart. If it is too high, it puts a strain on your arteries and heart, putting you at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is measured in millimetres of mercury and recorded as two figures- systolic pressure, which is the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out, and diastolic pressure- the pressure of the blood when your heart rests between beats. You are said to have hypertension if readings on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
How common is Hypertension?
Around 30% of people in England have hypertension, but many of those people don’t know it.
Your chances of having hypertension increase with age, and you are more at risk if you have an unhealthy lifestyle, including: being overweight, having a relative with high blood pressure, eating a lot of salt, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, and not doing enough exercise.
What are the symptoms of Hypertension?
The only way to know if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked, at least every 5 years. In some rare cases, where a person has very high blood pressure, they can experience symptoms including a persistent headache, blurred or double vision, nosebleeds and shortness of breath.
How is Hypertension treated?
Treatment of hypertension varies depending on the severity of the condition. Lifestyle changes are usually recommended for all sufferers of high blood pressure, including cutting your salt intake, eating a healthy diet, being active, cutting down on alcohol and caffeine, stopping smoking and losing weight.
There are also medications like diuretics which will help you keep your high blood pressure down.
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