Blood Pressure - Know your numbers

One of the most important indicators of your overall health is your blood pressure. It's estimated that 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but many won't even know.

High blood pressure (or hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if it is left untreated hypertension puts you at risk of very serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Similarly, low blood pressure often has no-symptoms however if you do have low blood pressure, you might find that you often feel faint or dizzy.

The only way to find out is to have your blood pressure checked. It's very easy to do, and only takes a few minutes. We can do it here at the gym or there are many places such as your local pharmacy, GP surgery or even with a home monitor.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They're both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As a general guide:

  • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher

  • ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg

  • low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don't take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Causes of high blood pressure

It's not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but certain things can increase your risk.

You're at an increased risk of high blood pressure if you:

  • are over the age of 65

  • are overweight or obese

  • are of African or Caribbean descent

  • have a relative with high blood pressure

  • eat too much salt and don't eat enough fruit and vegetables

  • don't do enough exercise

  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)

  • smoke

  • don't get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

Making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it's already high.

Reduce your blood pressure

The following lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:

  • reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet

  • cut back on alcohol if you drink too much

  • lose weight if you're overweight

  • exercise regularly

  • cut down on caffeine

  • stop smoking

  • try to get at least six hours of sleep a night

Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take one or more medicines to stop their blood pressure getting too high.

If you would like your blood pressure checked, please come and speak to a member of staff at the gym before your next session and we will be happy to check it for you.

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