There will not always be an explanation for high blood pressure, though most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition. As many as five million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so will not know that they are at risk, according to the British Heart Foundation. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
Blood Pressure UK notes that those with high blood pressure should focus on aerobic activities “as these will help your heart and blood vessels most”, but should avoid activities which put too much strain on your heart.
“For example, any exercise that is very intensive for short periods of time, such as sprinting or weightlifting. They raise your blood pressure very quickly and put too much strain on your heart and blood vessels,” it explains.
The organisation suggests that walking, jogging, swimming, dancing and gardening are all aerobic activities which are good choices.
If you have high blood pressure, the health body says you should be able to be more active quite safely, “but to be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor or nurse before you start any new physical activity”.
Indeed, physical activity will cause your blood pressure to rise for a short time but when you stop the activity it should quickly return to normal.
The NHS says that several other healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
It says you should reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet, cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine, and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking. Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take medicines.
Indeed, salt is one of the biggest culprits for hypertension, and adults should have no more than six grams of salt a day – that’s about one teaspoon.
It is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body, and the diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control,” says the NHS.
There are a couple of symptoms of hypertension people may be aware of, such as heart palpitations or dizzy spells.
Nonetheless, one of the greatest problems of blood pressure is that it often has no symptoms at all, so you should get yours checked if you are at risk.