High Blood Pressure


High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries (large blood vessels) as it is pumped around your body by your heart. If this pressure is too high it puts a strain on your arteries and your heart, which can increase the risk of  heart attack, a stroke,  or kidney disease.

You are said to have high blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) if readings on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher.

High blood pressure usually has no obvious symptoms and many people have it without knowing.

In over 90% of cases, the cause of high blood pressure (hypertension) is unknown but several factors can increase your risk of developing the condition.

Where there is no specific cause, high blood pressure is referred to by doctors as essential high blood pressure.

Factors that can raise your risk of developing essential high blood pressure include:

  • age: the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
  • a family history of high blood pressure (the condition seems to run in families)
  • being of African or Caribbean origin
  • a high amount of salt in your food
  • a lack of exercise
  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • stress

Who is most at risk?

There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure but you are at increased risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of African or Caribbean descent
  • eat a lot of salt
  • don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • don’t do enough exercise
  • drink a lot of coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • drink a lot of alcohol
  • are aged over 65

If you fall into any of the groups listed above, consider making changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of high blood pressure. Also consider having your blood pressure checked more often, ideally about once a year.

Prevention and treatment

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by:

  • losing weight if you need to
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet
  • cutting back if you drink a lot of alcohol
  • stopping smoking
  • cutting down on salt and caffeine
  • taking your medication if this has been prescribed

High Blood Pressure Clinics

Sister Everett runs clinics for people who have high blood pressure. The GPs will also check and monitor your blood pressure if you are concerned about it, or it has been discovered to be high.

The Practice Nurse checks your blood pressure, pulse, weight, takes blood samples to check your cholesterol, amongst other things and checks your medications. She goes over ways in which to keep yourself as well as possible. So it is a very important check to make sure that complications are less likely to occur.

A review should be done at least once a year  if you are taking medication for high blood pressure. If you notice time has passed and you haven’t had your review when you expected, please contact us and we will give you an appointment.

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