Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure
Superdrug’s Pharmacy Superintendent Niamh McMillan warned there are “serious” signs your blood pressure is too high. “Headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain and nose bleeds do not usually occur until your blood pressure is severely high or life-threatening,” said McMillan. “High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing heart diseases such as strokes and heart attacks.”
McMillan added: “More than a quarter of adults in the UK have high blood pressure.”
However, just because a person has high blood pressure, it doesn’t mean they are going to develop symptoms of the condition.
“Many people feel fine,” said McMillan, adding this is why “it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you are over 40”.
McMillan said: “High blood pressure normally develops over the course of a few years and therefore, you would not normally notice any symptoms.
“It could take up to decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become obvious and even then, the symptoms could be related to other issues.”
Superintendent pharmacist Phil Day, from Pharmacy2U, concurred that high blood pressure may not always lead to presentable symptoms.
Dubbed the “silent killer”, Day said the “harmful effects of high blood pressure usually take years to fully develop”.
Day explained: “When your blood pressure is too high, it will strain your heart, blood vessels, and other organs.
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“If this continues, it could increase the risk of potentially life-threatening conditions.”
Examples include heart disease, heart failure, strokes, kidney disease, aortic aneurysms, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Blood pressure readings
The NHS says an ideal blood pressure reading should be between 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg; the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg.
High blood pressure, on the other hand, is a reading of 140/90mmHg or higher, or above 150/mmHg if you’re over 80 years old.
The NHS adds: “Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure.”
You can have your blood pressure checked:
- At your GP surgery
- At some pharmacies
- As part of your NHS Health Check
- In some workplaces.
If you want to reduce your blood pressure, it’s advisable to cut down on the amount of salt you consume.
Other lifestyle modifications can include cutting down on alcohol and caffeine, not smoking, exercising regularly, and losing weight if needs be.
“Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take one or more medicines to stop their blood pressure getting too high,” the NHS adds.
If you are concerned about your blood pressure, contact your local healthcare team.
For more information on lowering your blood pressure reading, visit Blood Pressure UK.
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