High Blood Pressure: Easy at home steps to reduce it
High blood pressure has few detectable symptoms, and is one of the biggest killers in the UK, being the second largest single risk factor for premature death.
More than one in four adult Britons are affected by the condition, according to Public Health England, but many are unaware they have the condition.
High blood pressure, calculated by measuring the force at which your heart pumps blood and the resistance to blood flow in your blood vessels, is caused by a range of lifestyle factors.
It is measured by a sphygmomanometer, a sleeve that is placed around your arm and inflated with a pump until the circulation is cut off. A doctor then deflates the instrument and measures the blood pressure.
Not taking enough exercise, being overweight and kidney infections all raise the risks of heart disease. It is easily treated by lifestyle changes.
However, occasionally doctors do prescribe medication to help bring the blood pressure down to ‘normal’ levels.
The America-based Mayo Clinic, recommends several key lifestyle changes to treat the condition.
Blood pressure often increases as weight increases, as fatty deposits are laid down in your blood vessels, constricting blood movement and putting increased pressure on the vessel.
Losing weight reduces these affects, allowing blood pressure to return to normal levels.
The Mayo Clinic estimates that for each kilogram of weight you lose, your blood pressure will drop by one milligram of mercury (mm Hg). It says that men are at risk if their waist is greater than 40 inches, and woman are at risk if their waistline is above 35 inches.
The British Heart Foundation also recommends losing weight. On its website, the charity says “for some people, losing weight is all they need to do to get their blood pressure down to a normal level.”
High Blood Pressure: Getting blood pressure tested is simple and can be done by your GP
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Blood pressure often increases as weight increases
Playing a sport, running or even walking will reduce your blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic recommends as much as 150 minutes a week, or about 30 minutes a day. However, it stresses that physical activity must remain “consistent”. Otherwise, the blood pressure may creep back up.
Joining a local sports team would be a great way to keep the exercise regular.
Reduce Salt Intake
Even the smallest reduction, by not putting it on fish and chips, or avoiding ready-meals will help. Having too much salt in your blood means your kidneys can remove less water from your blood, leading to higher blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting your salt consumption to 2,300 milligrams a day, even though it suggests a 1,500mg a day in take is “ideal” for most adults.
High Blood Pressure: The NHS recommends adults should be tested every five years
Drink Less Alcohol
Swigging some alcohol after a stressful day is many people’s way of unwinding, but it will not help lower your blood pressure. Public Health England identified alcohol as a “burden” on public health in 2016, and recommended reduced consumption.
The Mayo Clinic suggested that limiting consumption to one drink a day for women, and two for men, should help to reduce blood pressure.
Monitor Blood Pressure Regularly
As the condition is not easy to detect, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you check you get tested regularly. The NHS recommends that adults over 40 should do this every five years.
“Getting this done is easy and could save your life,” they state on their website.
In January Public Health England relaunched their 2014 campaign, ‘Tackling high blood pressure: from evidence into action’, saying “more needs to be done to address the preventable ill health, death and devastation they cause for individuals and communities.”
“Tackling high blood pressure must remain a priority in England.”