16 Jul How Healthy is Your Blood Pressure?
As you may have already heard, our latest campaign “How Healthy Are You?” launched 24th June and it will run until 31st August. The campaign will see the Healthy Hearts and Kick It teams hit the streets of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and The City of Westminster.
We will be offering residents the chance to get a quick health screening, chat to our staff about some lifestyle related issues, signposting and the opportunity to sign up to Kick It and Healthy Hearts. Alongside carbon monoxide, lung age and body mass index assessments we will be measuring blood pressure.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure of the blood pumping through your heart and arteries. The first number is the systolic BP which is the pressure of the blood being pumped around the body by the heart. The second number is the diastolic BP which is the pressure of the blood returning to the heart.
If blood pressure remains high over a period of time and is not treated you will be more at risk of having a stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease, dementia and other illnesses. By lowering it with changes to your lifestyle and medicine you can lower your risks of these problems.
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms which is why many people don’t know they have it. It is known as the silent killer.
What causes high blood pressure?
For most people there is no single cause of high blood pressure, however, some things make it more likely:
* A family history of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.
* You might be at greater risk if you are of African, Caribbean or South Asian descent.
* Your age – blood pressure tends to increase as we get older.
* Your lifestyle can also cause blood pressure to increase. For example, being overweight, eating too much salt, not eating enough fruit and vegetables, not doing enough exercise, drinking too much alcohol, stress and smoking.
How can you manage your Blood Pressure?
You can lower your blood pressure by making a few simple lifestyle changes such as
* Eat more fruit and vegetables
* Eat less salt
* Drink alcohol in moderation/ reduce alcohol intake
* Maintain healthy weight
* Be more active
* Stop smoking
* Take medication if it is prescribed by your doctor
* Find ways to de-stress and do activities to help you relax.
Keep in mind that the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have regular blood pressure checks.