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Know your numbers – National Blood Pressure Week 12-18 Sep 2016

migranes
 

What is blood pressure?
Your heart is a pump that contracts and relaxes. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries which are the vessels that transport blood away from the heart around the body.

A blood pressure reading gives two figures: The first is the systolic (peak) and the second is the diastolic (trough) recording.

The systolic pressure is the pressure when the heart beats or contracts forcing blood around the body. The diastolic is the pressure when the heart relaxes.

Why is high blood pressure harmful?
The higher your blood pressure, the shorter your life expectancy. People with high blood pressure run a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

What causes high blood pressure?
In a lot of cases the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, however, the following may contribute:

  • cardio vascular disease (heart disease)
  • high cholesterol
  • poor diet and lack of exercise
  • salt
  • high alcohol intake
  • smoking
  • coffee and other drinks with caffeine.

Genes are another factor. For example, if one or both of your parents have high blood pressure you have a greater chance of developing it.

About four in ten people in England have high blood pressure with nearly a third not being treated. Thus, the National Institute of Excellence (NICE) recommends that if you feel at risk of high blood pressure you should have your blood pressure measured.

 

migranes

References:
British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk Oct 14
www.bloodpressureuk.org Sep 16