Are you living with your own “ticking time bomb”?
All Credits: PA
Do you know what your blood pressure is?
If not, you could be one of the millions of people under the age of 65 living with untreated high blood pressure.
Often called a silent killer, high blood pressure doesn’t usually have any symptoms, meaning many people are unaware they’re living with a condition that makes them significantly more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, or develop vascular dementia.
During May Measurement Month (MMM) – a global blood pressure screening initiative to improve public awareness of high blood pressure – the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in the UK is urging people to get their blood pressure tested, whether at home, in a pharmacy, or a GP surgery. It comes after BHF analysis estimated four million people under the age of 65 are unknowingly living with the potentially dangerous condition.
1. Do regular physical activity
Try to do some moderate-intensity activity every day and build up to at least 150 minutes per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
For some people, losing weight is all that’s needed to get their blood pressure down to a normal level.
3. Eat a healthy balanced diet
Use the Eatwell Plate to guide the proportions you include from each food group. In particular, include a variety of fruit and vegetables.
4. Cut down on salt
Salt can increase blood pressure because it reduces the kidneys’ ability to remove water from the bloodstream, and the extra fluid can raise blood pressure. So don’t cook with salt or add any to your food at the table, and cut down on processed foods, which contain a lot of salt.
5. Don’t drink too much alcohol
Drinking too much can raise blood pressure for various reasons, including the tightening of blood vessels and an increase of fats in the blood, which can harden arteries. If you drink alcohol, stick within the recommended limits – no more than 3–4 units a day for men and no more than 2–3 for women.
6. Take medication as prescribed
Most people will need to take more than one type of medicine to control their blood pressure. Don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your GP first.