High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It doesn’t usually make people feel ill and doesn’t usually give the person any symptoms. Very small numbers of people do suffer from headaches but only if their blood pressure is very high. Sometimes nosebleeds, breathlessness and sight problems can indicate high blood pressure.
The only sure way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured. This can be down by a GP or nurse, some pharmacies also offer a free blood pressure check service. Home blood pressure check machines can be purchased without spending a great deal.
It is thought that around 1 in 3 adults in the UK have high blood pressure. 1 in 3 of the people that have high blood pressure don’t know it, so can’t do much about it. There is a link in our genes, that if our parents had high blood pressure, then there is a greater chance of having high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is often caused by not doing enough physical exercise, being overweight, having too much salt in our diet, drinking too much alcohol, having too much caffeine and high levels of stress.
Everyone’s blood pressure will change throughout the day, usually being higher in the morning and lower in the evening. When a person becomes anxious or stressed, this can raise the blood pressure.
Usually a GP will not diagnose high blood pressure from one visit, they will have you monitor your blood pressure at home at varying times, or 24 hour blood pressure monitoring, or they will check it several times on several occasions.
How can a person reduce the likelihood of having high blood pressure?
- Doing regular physical exercise
- Ensuring that you are not overweight
- Not having too much salt in your diet
- Not drinking too much alcohol
- Eating a balanced and healthy diet
- Reducing your stress levels
- Reducing caffeine intake
If this does not work and the GP thinks it necessary, medication may be required.