Blood Pressure - Do You Know Your Numbers?
High blood pressure or hypertension is often referred to as the Silent Killer. It is a condition that rarely makes people feel ill so the condition often goes undiagnosed. According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) around one in three adults in the UK are hypertensive yet half of them – 5 million - are not receiving treatment.
Read what happened to one woman whose husband didn't know his numbers
What is Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers: systolic pressure when the heart contracts to pump blood with enough pressure around the body and diastolic pressure when it relaxes between beats with a lower pressure.
A certain amount of pressure is required to keep blood flowing round the body when the heart contracts. However, if the artery walls become hard and lose their elasticity, the heart pumps blood with more force to ensure the blood reaches the rest of the body through the narrower arteries and blood vessels.
People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke and are twice as likely to die from these conditions as people with normal blood pressure, which is why it is important for you to know your numbers!
Know Your Numbers
Having a regular blood pressure check is essential. Health Spark support the BHF’s Know Your Numbers campaign by holding drop-in events around the University. For more information, contact email@example.com. At other times you can go to your GP or a local pharmacy to check your blood pressure.
Try this fun quiz by the Blood Pressure Association to see if you may be at risk
Although there is no single cause for high blood pressure, it is clear that physical activity, losing excess weight, cutting down on salt, regulating alcohol intake and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables help to lower the risk of being hypertensive.
BHF statistics show that 41 percent of men and 31.5 percent of women in the South exercise for 30 minutes or more at least five days a week. Well done!
The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates the body to produce adrenaline making the heart beat faster and temporarily raising blood pressure. Smoking also narrows the arteries.
If you need advice and support to quit smoking then get in touch with the following organisations:
The BHF Smoking Helpline
0800 169 1900
NHS Smoking Helpline
0800 169 0 169