High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes. As we age blood pressure can become more likely. The major problem with blood pressure is that we can have it without feeling any ill effects and therefore be undiagnosed for years. So it is really important to get is checked if you think you could be at risk-- a simple check by your family doctor or practice nurse or even at the local pharmacy is a start.
Blood pressure readings above 140/90 mmHg indicate some degree of high blood pressure. Blood pressure can be labile and subject to large swings so it is important to get it checked a number of times before confirming the diagnosis.
Above the age of 40 we usually consider that it is related to essential hypertension, in other words it has no underlying cause. Below this age there could be a secondary cause that may need investigation by a specialist.
Things that you can do to bring your blood pressure down
1. Worry less. Anxiety and stress does almost certainly have an effect on your blood pressure. Try simple relaxation techniques.
2. Exercise more. Gentle exercise can lower blood pressure by reducing what is known as peripheral vascular resistance.
3. Reduce your weight. This again has an effect on peripheral vascular resistance which in term can reduce blood pressure.
4. Reduce your salt intake. There is good evidence that even modest reduction in salt intake can help to reduce blood pressure.
5. Stop smoking and drink less alcohol as both of these factors increase blood pressure.