Hypertension – Everything You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure

13 Apr 2022 Anne Marie Fogarty

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There’s a reason why health experts and officials refer to hypertension, aka high blood pressure, as the ‘silent killer’, and it’s not to make the condition sound overly dramatic. The reason why high blood pressure has such an ominous nickname is all down to the fact that it claims countless lives each year and is so hard to detect.


There are very few noticeable symptoms of high blood pressure until it gets very severe, but if not addressed, it can lead to different health complications and even be fatal.

Here in the UK, hypertension is sadly not a rare health issue. In fact, it is believed that around 1 in 3 UK adults has high blood pressure, with many not even realising it until it’s too late.

When it comes to our blood pressure, we can’t afford to take any chances, and we must understand that prevention is better than treatment. Therefore it’s so important to make use of the free healthcare we get in the form of the NHS and get our blood pressure checked regularly.

If you’re worried about your blood pressure or want to learn more, here’s a look at everything you need to know about hypertension.


What is hypertension?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, may be a common health condition, but that doesn’t make it any less deadly.

If left untreated and unaddressed, hypertension can lead to serious health complications, including Strokes, heart attacks, kidney damage, organ failure, cardiac disease, and much more.

Our blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and recorded with two numbers. These are:

  • Systolic pressure (top number)
  • Diastolic pressure (bottom number)

Our blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood that the heart can pump, along with the amount of resistance to blood flow within the arteries. Basically, the more blood that the heart is able to pump, and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure will be.

Think of your arteries as a hosepipe and your blood as the water that comes from it. If the water pressure is very high, a narrow garden hose wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure and would likely split and become damaged. On the flip side, if the pipe was much bigger and stronger, like the ones used by the fire brigade, they can then handle more water from higher pressure.


What are the natural ways to treat and prevent hypertension?


As mentioned, hypertension is very difficult to detect, and if left undetected, it can be fatal. The good news is that there are things we can do to get our blood pressure down, including the following naturally:


Lose excess weight

Numerous studies have found a direct link between obesity and hypertension.

Experts have found that losing as little as 5 – 10 pounds of excess body fat drastically brings our blood pressure levels down.


Exercise more

Exercise is another very effective treatment and preventative measure for people suffering with hypertension.

Exercise helps to strengthen the heart, boost circulation, increase oxygen levels, and prevent countless other health issues in the process.

Research suggests that exercising regularly can lead to reductions in blood pressure of as much as 4.5%, which is around as effective as blood pressure medications, which provide some very unpleasant side effects.

Clean up your diet 

As you can see, treating and preventing hypertension is all about making healthy lifestyle choices, and diet is no exception.

Foods rich in sodium, sugar, trans fats, and artificial ingredients can lead to elevated blood pressure levels in various ways, including the fact that they can block the arteries and cause all kinds of serious health issues, including blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.

Try to eat foods that lower cholesterol and are loaded full of natural goodness. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, complex carbs, lean proteins, and good fats should all be consumed as part of your everyday diet. We aren’t saying you can’t have the occasional treat now and then because you can; just make sure your diet is healthy 99% of the time.

You should also limit your sodium intake to no more than 2,300mg per day, or ideally, 1,500mg per day.


Limit your stress

This is easier said than done, we know, but if at all possible, try to relax more and do everything in your power to limit and reduce your stress.

Stress can raise a person’s heart rate and blood pressure; plus, in times of stress, we are more likely to make poor and unhealthy lifestyle choices.


Get your blood pressure checked

Finally, no matter how fit and healthy you may look and feel, you should still get your blood pressure checked regularly by a professional, just to be on the safe side.

There are no real symptoms of high blood pressure unless it is really severe, so you could be suffering with hypertension and not even realise it. Simply visiting the doctor and having them take your BP, however, can determine whether there is an issue or not.


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