Article

Managing your blood pressure

Know Your Numbers 2020 Health Management

Your heart is a muscular pump. It pumps blood around your body using a system of blood vessels or veins. Blood pressure (BP) is created by the force of your heart pumping blood out and the resistance of the walls of the vessels the blood passes through.

High blood pressure

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and recorded in units of mmHg. It is usually written down like this: 120/80 mmHg. Your ideal BP should be below 120/80 mmHg.

Blood pressure varies as the heart beats, the higher number is the peak pressure created as the heart beats, the lower number the residual pressure within the vessels as the heart rests between beats.

  • High BP, also called hypertension, is said to be a reading above 140/90 mmHg.
  • A consistent reading of 160/100mmHg or above will generally require medical treatment.

Causes

In 95% of people with high blood pressure there is no single cause, but it’s made worse by a combination of lifestyle factors:

> Eating a diet high in saturated fats

> Eating too much salt

> Being overweight

> A lack of exercise

> Drinking too much alcohol

In a few people there may be an underlying medical condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or heart disease.

Why it’s a problem

People with high blood pressure have a higher risk of a heart attack or a stroke (which damages the brain). Left untreated, it can also cause kidney failure and heart failure.

Reducing the risk

Changing your lifestyle can help to reduce the risks of high blood pressure. Some examples include:

> Reduce your salt intake

> Cut down on ‘saturated’ fats

> Lose excess weight

> Get more active

> Drink alcohol only within sensible limits

> Relax

> Have your blood pressure checked regularly

We provide 20-30 minute lifestyle appointments for employees of leading organisations all over the UK, this includes taking measurements such as height, weight, BMI and Blood Pressure to give high level advice on lifestyle. If you’d like to arrange a visit to your workplace, contact us.