Commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension is much more common than many people think; it affects 40 percent of adults in the UK. There are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly by your GP or practice nurse. Blood pressure refers to the strength of the force generated by the blood as it flows through the vessels; if this is too high it can cause damage to the vessels and disruptions to blood flow.

Effects of high blood pressure

Having high blood pressure can contribute to a number of serious health conditions including:

  • Strokes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney problems
  • Dementia

Causes of high blood pressure

There are a range of factors which may contribute to high blood pressure; these include:

  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Eating a diet that is high in cholesterol, salt and fatty foods
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking heavily
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Heritage: people with South Asian, Caribbean or African heritage are more likely to suffer from hypertension

Treating high blood pressure

High blood pressure can be very serious and it can result in conditions that may prove fatal so it is important to get treatment if you suspect you may have hypertension. You may be given medication to lower your blood pressure and your GP will usually suggest that you make changes to your diet and exercise regime; eating healthily and getting regular exercise will lower your blood pressure, as well as providing a host of other health benefits.

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