I’m a doctor – here’s how to manage high blood pressure – Liku

Often referred to as the silent killer, high blood pressure can affect up to 5 million unwitting adults.

This condition has few symptoms in the early stages – that’s what the Know Your Numbers week ending today is about.


The campaign encourages people to check their blood pressure and receive the treatment they need to control it.

High blood pressure is to blame for 60% of strokes and half of heart attacks.

If you have it, you are twice as likely to end up in hospital if you get Covid.

Cindy Jodal, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, told The Sun on Sunday Health: “Up to five million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure.

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“Many people don’t realize they have a problem until it’s too late. High blood pressure greatly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

“It can also lead to other problems, such as kidney failure, heart failure, vision problems and vascular dementia.”

Sindy is here to answer your questions about high blood pressure. . .

What is high blood pressure?

This is the blood pressure in the arteries. You need some pressure to get blood flowing around your body, and it naturally fluctuates up and down during the day—for example, it increases when you move around.

When you measure your blood pressure, you get two numbers.

The first is systolic blood pressure. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.

The second is diastolic blood pressure — the lowest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart relaxes between beats. Both are given in mmHg, first systolic and then diastolic.

The ideal blood pressure is thought to be between 90/60 and 120/80, the NHS said.

What are the symptoms?

High blood pressure rarely has obvious symptoms, but you may experience headaches, blurred vision, nosebleeds, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain or tightness.

Where to measure?

Your GP or local pharmacy can test you for free. If it’s normal, you’ll need another checkup in about five years, which should be yearly unless you have diabetes.

You can buy a monitor to test yourself at home, but don’t buy a wrist or finger monitor. Choose an upper arm cuff and make sure it’s the right size for you. They start at around £20. Recommended can be found on the British Heart Foundation’s online store.

Who gets high blood pressure and how can you reduce your risk?

Certain ethnic groups, such as those from Afro-Caribbean or South Asian ancestry, are more likely to have the disease.

It can also be inherited and run in families. You should try to quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and maintain a healthy weight.

Try 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, eat more fruits and vegetables, and reduce your salt intake.

The guidelines say adults should consume no more than 6 grams (one teaspoon) of salt per day — both the amount you add to your meals and the amount of salt that is already in the food you eat.

Can it be cured?

If you have high blood pressure, you may need medication to help lower it.

‘I feel like I’m not at risk’

KEEN cyclist Adam Toms was 47 when he suffered three life-threatening strokes due to high blood pressure.

Adam, 54, from Harrow, west London, told The Sun in Health Sunday: “I’ve been fine and cycled a lot.

“But one day in February 2013, I installed the air conditioner in my work van and gave half of the Twix to my colleagues.

“The words that came out were chaotic and vague. I had 3 strokes that morning – one of which was on my way to the hospital.

“I was paralyzed on all left sides and I was in hospital for about 14 weeks.

“I’m lucky to be alive. Even now, I can only walk half an hour a day. I’m very tired and have problems with my speech. I haven’t been able to go back to work.

“If I knew I had high blood pressure, it could have been avoided. It was prevalent in my family, but I felt fine, I never thought I was in danger.

“Don’t risk letting this happen to you. The test only takes a few minutes.”

9 questions to answer

If you answered yes to two or more questions, discuss your risk with your GP.

  1. Do you often put a lot of salt in your food or buy processed foods?
  2. Do you drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week?
  3. Are you overweight?
  4. Does anyone in your family have high blood pressure?
  5. Do you smoke?
  6. Are you in your 40s?
  7. Do you live a sedentary lifestyle?
  8. Are you constantly suffering from sleep disturbances?
  9. Are you of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian descent?

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