Know Your Numbers week highlights the effects high blood pressure can have on health and encourages more people to check their blood pressure and know their numbers.
Blood pressure is the measure of the force that the heart uses to pump blood around the body. This measurement is given in 2 figures; systolic pressure (the pressure when blood is pumped out of the heart) and diastolic pressure (the pressure when the heart rests between beats). This is measures in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), with a healthy blood pressure considered between 90/60mmHG and 120/80mmHg.
If the blood pressure becomes high, it can narrow the arteries and blood vessels in the body, making it harder for blood to pump around, causing more pressure. The strain from this does not just affect the heart and blood vessels but it also affects organs such as the brain and kidneys. Blood pressure readings that are consistently higher than 140/90mmHg is considered high blood pressure.
There are no noticeable symptoms of high blood pressure, however, people with very high pressure can experience headaches, bloodshot eyes, and feel unwell. High blood pressure is known as ‘the silent killer’, as in some cases, the first sign of it is a heart attack or stroke. Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important!
Your lifestyle choices can be a possible cause of high blood pressure; being overweight, too much salt in your diet, not being active, smoking or drinking too much alcohol can be a cause. Age, genetics, and ethnic background can also play a role in high blood pressure, as well as other health issues such as kidney problems.
You can find out what your blood pressure is by visiting your GP or pharmacist. In previous years, Blood Pressure UK, the organisers of Know Your Numbers Week, have set up ‘Pressure Stations’ across the UK to encourage more people to have their blood pressure tested. Social distancing has prevented the stations from being set up so the campaign is focused on ‘home monitoring’.
A home blood pressure monitor can test your blood pressure from the comfort of your own home. The Blood Pressure UK website provides a helpful guide on home monitoring, with advice on what type of device is reliable and is the best for you. In some circumstances, a home monitor may cause anxiety, so it is important to decide if having a monitor at home is right for you.
Next week, we will be sharing our tips for healthy blood pressure and how you can lower your blood pressure if you need to.
At Heritage Healthcare, we support our clients within their own home to encourage independence and comfort. Our highly-trained care team provide support with personal care, companionship, household help and complex needs, taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.