The 6 High Blood Pressure Facts you Need to Know
High blood pressure is one of the biggest causes of heart attacks and strokes, but few of us actually know much about it. It is estimated that up to 7 million people in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, and it's not something that should be ignored. Provided by the British Heart Foundation, we have outlined 6 key facts about blood pressure that you need to know.
1) The silent killer
High blood pressure is often called the 'silent killer'. If you have high blood pressure, the chances are you don't even know about it! Any signs or symptoms are rare, making it extra important that you go for regular checkups with your doctor.
2) Finding out the hard way
Unfortunately, for many people the first time they find out about their high blood pressure is when they have a stroke or a heart attack. High blood pressure can damage the walls of arteries, leading to a potential stroke or coronary artery disease. Heart mussels can also suffer damage, increasing the chance of heart failure.
3) Affecting millions
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure in the UK, that's around 16 million people. About 9 million of those have been diagnosed, leaving 7 million unaware of their high blood pressure.
4) How it's measured
Many people don't know that blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). A typical reading may look like 120/80, the first number is someone's blood pressure at its highest (when the heart squeezes). The second number is when the heart is at its lowest. Unless advised otherwise by a doctor, most people should aim for a blood pressure lower than 140/90.
5) Alcohol increases the risk
Unfortunately for those who enjoy a drink, alcohol can increase a person's blood pressure. Other lifestyle factors which increase blood pressure include being overweight and not eating enough fruit and veg!
6) Exercise helps
Blood pressure can rise in people who don't exercise regularly. Experts suggest we should get at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity.
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