Everyone has blood pressure. It is a sign of the blood circulating in the arteries. The problem arises when the pressure is consistently too high.
Blood pressure is measured using two figures. The lower figure (diastolic blood pressure) refers to the baseline pressure in the arteries. The higher (systolic) blood pressure refers to the pressure when the heart contracts, forcing more blood out into the arteries around the body, pushing the pressure up.
- ‘Normal’ blood pressure is 120/80
- ‘High’ blood pressure is 140/90
Often there is no known cause for hypertension. 90% of people have so called “essential hypertension”. A minority of people has a disease causing their hypertension Hypertension is important because it at least doubles your risk of stroke. It can also cause heart failure, kidney damage, and eye damage. Much research has shown that control of hypertension reduces this risk.
This is why doctors recommend treatment of hypertension. Control of blood pressure is all the more important if you have diabetes of existing heart disease. Some lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure. These may help someone’s blood pressure stay normal, or even control mild cases without use of medication. They are important changes for anyone who has hypertension.
These lifestyle changes that can reduce blood pressure are:
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Drink less alcohol
- Be more active / do more exercise
- Do not add salt to your diet
- Also quit smoking if you smoke