Hypertension is a long-term health condition whereby the blood pressure in the arteries is constantly elevated. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within blood vessels and is measured in ‘millimetres of mercury’ (mmHg) using two numbers; for example, 120/80mmHg.
According to the NHS, more than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure but many won’t even realise it. The only way to find out is by having your blood pressure checked.
Noticeable symptoms of hypertension are rare as the only time someone will notice symptoms of hypertension will be when their blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. This is known as hypertensive crisis and the symptoms for this include severe headaches and anxiety, chest pain and an irregular heartbeat.
Hypertension puts lots of strain on blood vessels, the heart and other vital organs such as the kidneys. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of the following serious, and potentially life-threatening medical conditions:
Ways of treating and managing hypertension include:
Watching your diet – Avoid foods high in saturated fat and sugar. Replace them with fruits and vegetables.
Leading an active lifestyle – Begin adding more exercise to your day. Start by walking regularly and then move onto jogging if you can.
Stop smoking – Nicotine raises people’s blood pressure and heart rate. If you smoke, one of the best things you can do for your overall health is to quit.
The NHS recommends that all adults over the age of 40 get their blood pressure checked at least every five years.