A new study has suggested that seven in ten British adults and almost half of under 35s have blood pressure above healthy limits.
Experts are now warning that if people don’t make essential lifestyle changes, the combination of high blood pressure (hypertension) and Britain’s ageing population will put huge pressure on our NHS.
One in seven adults now suffer from high blood pressure
Figures from Lloyds Pharmacy show that seven in ten adults are at greater risk of stroke or heart attack because of their increased blood pressure.
Almost half of under 35s have blood pressure above healthy limits, and a third are in the high to very high range.
You are more at risk of high blood pressure 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.
Office workers are amongst those most likely to have high blood pressure.
The figures were collected from the results of more than 100,000 blood pressure tests Lloyds Pharmacy has carried out since 2003.
Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. It is measured in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg. A blood pressure of 120/80 is considered good, but over 140/90 is a cause for concern.
Leslie Hamilton, a consultant cardiac surgeon at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, said: 'These figures are a real concern and a stark reminder that high blood pressure is a major issue in the UK.
'The number of people suffering from high blood pressure is increasing and the age at which people develop it is getting ever younger.
'High blood pressure can lead to debilitating strokes and fatal heart attacks.
'Many people put their heart problems down to genetics, but your blood pressure is one area that you can control with lifestyle changes and medicine.
'Although less people now smoke, modern lifestyles mean people are eating more high-salt junk food and doing less exercise.
If you currently suffer from high blood pressure and want to be covered for it on your private medical insurance, compare health insurance policies with a fixed moratorium. For more information, take a look at our page on pre-existing conditions.
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