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”.
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
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.
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.