Blood Pressure

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Everyone has 'blood pressure'. It is a measure of how hard your heart has to work in order to pump blood around your body. The 'normal' level is usually said to be 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic), although this varies with age, stress and activity. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, you should have a chat with your doctor.


Measurement of blood pressure

Two different numbers measure your blood pressure level. One number records the blood pressure as it is pumped out from your heart. This is called systolic pressure. Another number records the pressure when your heart relaxes. This is called diastolic pressure.


High blood pressure levels

A person with high blood pressure can look and feel perfectly OK. There are usually very few obvious symptoms. The only way to tell what your blood pressure is, is to have it measured. So if you haven't had it checked in the last couple of years, get it checked. If you are aged 40 or over, you should get it checked about once a year, especially if you smoke or suffer from obesity or drink to excess.


If you have high blood pressure

The most important thing is, DON'T PANIC! High blood pressure is relatively common and is caused by a variety of factors. Fortunately, it usually responds very well to proper treatment, so like I say - don't worry!


Causes of high blood pressure

Usually, there is no single cause: a variety of factors are involved. For example:



The effect of high blood pressure

High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. Over time, this can lead to an increased likelihood of heart attacks and strokes.


How to reduce high blood pressure

Family history of high blood pressure - If you have a family history of high blood pressure and your own blood pressure is high, your doctor may recommend drug treatment. This will usually be for life, although the risk of a stroke or heart attack is usually greatly reduced.


No family history - If your blood pressure is high but you don't have a history of high blood pressure in your family, your doctor may still recommend drug treatment. However, in most cases, your doctor will advise you to adopt a healthier lifestyle along the following line: