High Blood Pressure – Hypertension

About half of people in the UK over 65, and about 1 in 4 middle aged adults, have high blood pressure. In 90-95% of high blood pressure cases the cause is unknown – in fact, you can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it.

Your blood pressure is an indication of the pressure within your arteries each time the heart beats. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two figures: for example, 150/95 mmHg, which is said as “150 over 95”.

High blood pressure is a risk factor for developing a cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or stroke, so it's a good idea to have your blood pressure tested regularly. Longterm high blood pressure can have a damaging effect on arteries and put a strain on your heart.

The first number is the systolic pressure: the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. The second number is the diastolic pressure, the arterial pressure when the heart rests between each heartbeat.

High blood pressure is classed as mild, moderate or severe. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80. 

If you have high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease, a Cardiovascular Risk Assessment test measures a whole range of biochemical markers involved in cardiovascular disease processes. Smart Nutrition can also go through the results with you and put together a treatment plan to correct any imbalances and reduce your disease risk.


In many cases high blood pressure is asymptomatic, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent killer’. However, the following signs and symptoms may be experienced:

  • Headaches, especially upon rising
  • Shortness of breath
  • Red/”blustered” appearance
  • Fatigue
  • Tinnitus
  • Light-headedness

Contributory factors

Stress: our physical response to stressful events is an increased secretion of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase blood pressure by causing the heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to constrict.

This survival mechanism enabled our ancestors to run away from danger and avoid bleeding to death. However, the pressures of modern living mean stress can become chronic, so this survival mechanism never fully switches off, resulting in permanently high blood pressure.

If you have a stressful lifestyle then you should definitely have your blood pressure checked regularly. Smart Nutrition also recommend an Adrenal Stress Test which can  assess stress levels and identify ways to support the body. Smart Nutrition can work with you to put together a personalised diet, lifestyle and supplement plan to reduce your stress response and help lower your blood pressure. 

Being overweight: studies show that people who are overweight are more likely to have high blood pressure.

Losing weight has many health benefits – and blood pressure can fall by up to 2.5/1.5 mmHg for each excess kilogram which is lost.

Smart Nutrition can support you in achieving a healthy weight – please use the button at the bottom of the page to book in for a Smart Nutrition consultation.

Poor diet: a diet low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and high in refined food, salt and alcohol can greatly increase the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.

Smart Nutrition can give you practical advice on how to alter your diet to help reduce your blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. 

Genetic predisposition: high blood pressure, oxidative stress and cardiovascular disease often run in families.

Coming soon to Smart Nutrition – A range of new genetic tests.

Lifestyle choices: there are many factors in everyday life that can have an effect on health, including the environment, diet, exercise and stress. 

The Cardio Check Profile provides a thorough assessment of cardiovascular health status from markers that reveal the biochemical environment associated with inflammation, lipid deposits, endothelial dysfunction, clotting factors and other primary mechanisms underlying cardiovascular disease.

Lack of exercise:  regular physical activity can lower blood pressure as well as  giving other health benefits.

If you need to look after your cardiovascular health but currently do little physical activity, Smart Nutrition can help you to put together an appropriate and enjoyable exercise regime as part of your hypertension treatment plan. Please use the button at the bottom of the page to find out more.

Useful Links

Please do not return samples to the laboratories that may arrive after Wednesday 27th March and up to and including Monday 2nd April.

The laboratories are closed from the 28th March – 2nd April for the Easter Holiday.