Left to worsen, high blood pressure is a risky health condition, with most people only discovering they have it once they’re rushed into hospital – normally due to a heart attack or stroke. Professor Jamie Waterwall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Public Health England (PHE) commented on the condition. “High blood pressure is the country’s leading cause of heart attacks and strokes,” he said.
“If you’re over 40, getting your free NHS Health Check is a simple way to find out your blood pressure as well as your risk of other conditions.”
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure can lead to headaches and bouts of dizziness.
The health condition may also cause someone to experience unexplained nosebleeds.
It can also lead to chest pain, shortness of breath and/or blurred vision.
The best way to check if you’re suffering from hypertension is to get your blood pressure measured.
This can be done at the GP’s clinic, at some pharmacies, and in the comfort of your own home.
Called a sphygmomanometer, a high blood pressure monitor can be bought from BHF.
The cheapest option on their website starts from £19.99, with the most expensive being £119.99.
It’s important to buy a reliable blood pressure monitor to get an accurate reading.
Alternatively, you can buy a blood pressure monitor at large supermarkets or pharmacies.
How to read the results
A normal blood pressure reading is below 140/90mmHg – showing the systolic and diastolic readings.
The systolic number is the first number that tells you the pressure exerted when the heart is beating.
Meanwhile, the diastolic number tells you the pressure when the heart is relaxing, between beats.
People with heart or circulatory disease, diabetes, or kidney disease have an ideal blood pressure reading less than 130/80mmHg.
For detailed video instructions on how to measure your blood pressure at home, visit the BHF website.
If you already own a blood pressure monitor, the BHF recommends the device is serviced every two years.
“It needs to be regularly serviced and calibrated to make sure it is accurate,” said the charity.
“This usually involves sending it back to the manufacturer, who will probably charge a fee,” added the BHF.
If the reading is higher than you’d like it to be then lifestyle adjustments might help to lower your blood pressure reading.
This includes exercising regularly – for at least 150 minutes per week – and keeping to a healthy weight.
In addition, it’s helpful to eat a healthy balanced diet, cut down on salt, and to drink less alcohol.