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When it comes to facts and figures, most of us know our height and weight but how many of us know our blood pressure reading? The answer is worryingly few. Yet there is a simple, quick and painless test to find out and it could just save your life. Read on to discover how Know Your Numbers Week is hoping to raise awareness of the silent killer that is high blood pressure.
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often referred to as ‘the silent killer’ because there are usually no symptoms at all – sadly the first sign could be a stroke or heart attack which may prove fatal.
How serious is it?
One in every two strokes and heart attacks is the result of high blood pressure. It can also cause many other conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease and dementia.
How common is it?
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is very common in the UK. In fact, one in three adults have it, and of those, a staggering six million people don’t even realise they have it.
What happens during a blood pressure test?
Here at YourGP, the nurse or doctor will ask a few questions about your general health and lifestyle, and ensure you are comfortable and relaxed before commencing the test. They will ask you to rest one arm on a table, then they will place a fabric cuff around your upper arm. The doctor or nurse will inflate the cuff using a small hand-held pump, and as the cuff deflates, a machine will read your blood pressure and display the numbers on a screen.
The whole process takes just a minute and the results are provided immediately. You will be given plenty of time to ask questions and, depending on your results, will be carefully guided through the next steps, should any further action be required.
What is the ideal blood pressure reading?
The ideal reading is 120/80mmHg. Anything significantly above or below that level will need to be investigated.
How can a blood pressure test make a difference?
As the saying goes, knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed. If you take the test and you discover your blood pressure is higher than it should be, you can then take the necessary steps to lower it – be that through medication and / or lifestyle changes.
What can I do to prevent high blood pressure?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular exercise can significantly reduce high blood pressure. Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine, and cutting out cigarettes altogether is also highly recommended. What’s more, it is important to consider your mental health and, where possible, try to reduce stress by avoiding triggers and practising relaxation techniques.
To book a blood pressure test or for further advice on how to maintain healthy blood pressure, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 225 5656.
I was surprised to meet a GP with such a ready smile and willingness to give me the time I needed. I felt we had a conversation as equals and that she actually heard what I said. A couple of blood tests, a physiotherapy referral and I am better than I have been in a very long time