Today is World Hypertension Day – an annual event to promote public awareness for hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure.
The day aims to encourage people to check their blood pressure, to control the silent killer.
According to the NHS, high blood pressure affects more than 25% of adults in the UK.
The British Heart Foundation state that as many as seven million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
The problem is that not enough people are getting checked.
Research released by Braun found that only two thirds of adults surveyed check their blood pressure through routine GP appointments. And a shocking 7% never get checked at all.
It is important to check regularly, and to know what constitutes as high blood pressure.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: The silent killer affects more than 25% of adults in the UK
What is blood pressure?
Your blood pressure, put simply, is the pressure of blood in your arteries.
These are responsible for carrying the blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body.
According to the NHS, blood pressure is “a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body.”
There are two numbers used to measure the pressure.
The top number is systolic pressure, which is the pressure when your heart pushes blood out.
The second number is diastolic pressure, the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
This is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
What is high and low blood pressure?
Blood pressure is high when it is consistently above the recommended level of between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Your blood pressure is considered high if your systemic is 140mmHg or higher, and your systolic is 90mmHg or higher.
Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg, or lower.
It is important to see your GP if you have high or low blood pressure.
SYMPTOMS: There are usually no symptoms of high blood pressure
What are the dangers and symptoms of high blood pressure?
If the force of blood against the walls of the arteries are consistently too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels.
This could lead to a range of health issues, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
There is usually no one specific cause of high blood pressure.
However, there are a number of issues which could contribute, such as being overweight, stress, bad diet or genetics.
There are usually no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is important to get checked regularly.
While the majority of people don’t experience symptoms, high blood pressure can cause headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, heart palpitations, stomach pain, blurred vision or fever.