Low and High Blood Pressure
March 8, 2019
What is classed as high blood pressure?
- As many as 7 million people in the UK are living with un-diagnosed high blood pressure (British Heart Foundation).
- The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.
- Your GP will probably be concerned if your blood pressure reading is 140/90mmHg or higher.
What are the causes of high blood pressure?
- Blood pressure varies from person to person and can fluctuate throughout the day.
- However, high blood pressure is usually caused by poor diet (high in fat/salt/sugar and processed foods), obesity, lack of exercise, stress, smoking and alcohol. Some people can get it if they have a family history or of African or Caribbean origin.
- In some people it can be caused by an underlying condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or lupus, amongst others.
- Some people live with a condition called ‘white coat hypertension’ where their blood pressure rises only because someone is taking their blood pressure, and not because you have an underlying medical problem.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
- Many people don’t have symptoms, but a common one is a head ache.
- Other symptoms include, dizziness, blurred vision, shortness of breath.
What should you do?
- If you think you have high blood pressure, make sure you consult your GP and get a blood pressure test asap. The longer you leave it, the worse health consequences you can end up with.
- Not everyone with high blood pressure needs medication and some people will just be asked to make lifestyle changes.
- These include:
- Taking regular exercise, eating a low-fat diet with plenty of fruit and veg and reducing salt. Trying to limit stress, drink less alcohol and get a better quality of sleep.
- Low Blood Pressure
What is classed as low blood pressure?
- Low blood pressure is a reading of 90/60mmHg or less. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, but you may need treatment if it does.
What are the causes of low blood pressure?
- There are many different causes of low blood pressure and these vary from person to person.
- With some people it can be something which you have inherited, or it can be caused because you’re fit and healthy.
- It can vary throughout the day too and is often common in people who are pregnant, have diabetes, are on medication and can be an impact of getting older.
What are the symptoms of low blood pressure?
Usually someone suffering with LBP, will experience:
- light-headedness or dizziness
- blurred vision
- generally feeling weak
- Sick feeling.
You may have postural hypotension, if when you get symptoms when you stand up or suddenly change position.
What should you do?
- If you’re having symptoms on a regular basis then make sure you see your GP for a blood pressure check. If you’re aged between 40 to 74 years old, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once every 5 years as part of the NHS Health Check.
- Lifestyle changes are usually the best medicine to help control low-blood pressure.
- When getting up from sitting or lying down – move slowly.
- eat small, frequent meals – lying down or sitting still for a while after eating may also help.
- increase the amount of water you drink.
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