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This week is National Know Your Numbers Week, a campaign created by Blood Pressure UK (the UK’s largest blood pressure testing and awareness event). This year’s theme is STOP stroke; encouraging people to have their blood pressure measured, which will give a reflection on their current health status, so the necessary steps to maintain a healthy blood pressure can be taken.
High blood pressure is responsible for approximately 60% of strokes and can also lead to heart disease, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it measured as there aren’t any obvious symptoms – hence the name “silent killer”.
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which blood pushes against the walls of blood vessels (arteries) at a consistently higher level than what’s recommended. This will put strain on the arteries and the heart, which may lead to other cardiovascular diseases.
How is it measured?
Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers…
These are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
For example, a reading of “110 over 80” means that the systolic pressure is 110 mmHg and the diastolic pressure is 80 mmHg.
High blood pressure is suspected when blood pressure is consistently equal or above 140/90 mmHg, whereas low blood pressure is anything below 90/60 mmHg.
Who’s at risk?1
What can I do to reduce the risk of high blood pressure?2
If your blood pressure is high and remains so or isn’t significantly reduced after these lifestyle changes, your doctor would likely prescribe you blood pressure lowering medications to help to control it and to reduce the risk of further complications.