You’d be amazed how many people don’t know their blood pressure. According to the British Heart Foundation, around 7 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure.(Now imagine the African diaspora and her most populous country Nigeria) Surprising, when you consider the knock on risks of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease.
Put simply blood pressure is the force that moves blood through your blood vessels around the body. So clearly it’s incredibly vital, however high blood pressure can be critical. High blood pressure can produce several symptoms, but the best way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get it tested before they or the knock on effects strike. That’s where Know Your Numbers Week & the Evergreen Life blood pressure app comes in.
Know Your Numbers!!!
The awareness week was first launched in 2001 by Blood Pressure UK to educate and encourage us to monitor our blood pressure. Now, 15 years on, there are around 250,000 free checks available across the UK during awareness week between 12-18 September 2017 (In Africa and Nigeria, not much is being done if at all….both from the government and well meaning but oft crippled non-profits alike) With the potential risks linked to high blood pressure, it is important to understand what your readings mean. Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers – systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the force at which the heart contracts and blood is pumped through the arteries. Whereas diastolic blood pressure is the lowest point of pressure in between beats when the heart relaxes. A reading for people in good health would be below 120/80.
Blood pressure can be reduced by making some simple lifestyle changes including lowering your salt intake, increasing physical activity, reducing alcohol consumption, and eating a healthy balanced diet. If lifestyle changes cannot reduce your blood pressure enough you will be provided with prescribed medication by your doctor to help bring it under control and reduce your risk. With more than one in four people in the UK suffering from high blood pressure it is important for individuals to be able to keep a record and manage their own pressure levels.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease. It doesn’t have any symptoms, which is why you need to have it checked regularly, to make sure that you aren’t running unnecessary risks with your health.
A blood pressure check is quick and painless, and it’s important to know your numbers. There are two: systolic pressure (the higher number) is the force with which your heart pumps blood around your body. Diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Both are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
What is a healthy blood pressure?
Blood pressure varies depending on a range of factors, including your age and activity. For example, it’s likely to be higher if you have been exerting yourself physically, you’re feeling stressed, or you’ve just drunk a strong coffee.
As a general guide:
• High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
• Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
• Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower.
Between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you could be on the way to developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to keep it under control.
How to reduce blood pressure?
• Absolutely the first thing is to stop smoking, if you haven’t already.
• Being overweight is the next thing to tackle: obesity increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
• Eat healthily – a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on salt and saturated fat, will help reduce the risk. Drink alcohol with moderation.
• Exercise is also essential. Half an hour five times a week is the recommended minimum to help keep you healthy, though if you haven’t done any exercise for a long time, don’t jump straight in – build up gently. Walking, swimming, dancing and cycling are all good – the important thing is to choose exercise that you enjoy, so that you stick with it.