In the UK, about half of people over 65, and about 1 in 4 middle aged adults, have high blood pressure. In 90 to 95 percent 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. This 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 is a good idea to have your blood pressure tested regularly. Long term high blood pressure can have a damaging effect to arteries and put a strain on your heart.
The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts. The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between each heartbeat
High blood pressure can be classed as mild, moderate or severe and a normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80.
If you have high blood pressure or a family history of cardiovascular disease, you might like to consider a cardiovascular risk assessment test, which measures a whole range of biochemical markers involved in cardiovascular disease processes. A nutritional therapist can then go through the results with you and put together a treatment plan to correct any imbalances and reduce your disease risk
Signs and symptoms
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 is a prehistoric survival mechanism designed enable us 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. You might also like to consider An Adrenal Stress Test which can be a really useful way of assessing stress levels and identifying ways to support the body. Smart Nutrition could then work with you to put together a specific diet, lifestyle and supplement plan to reduce your stress response and help lower your blood pressure. Book a Consultation.
Being Overweight – Studies have shown 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. For safe and effective weight loss why not book A Smart Nutrition Weight Loss Package.
Poor diet – A diet low in fruits, vegetables and wholegrains and high in refined food, salt and alcohol can greatly increase the risk of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. A nutritional therapist can give you practical advice on how to alter you diet to help reduce your blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. Book a Consultation.
Genetic predisposition – High blood pressure, oxidative stress and cardiovascular disease often run in families. If you have a family history of these conditions you might want to consider a CardioGenomic Profile. This can be an invaluable preventative screen allowing intervention before a problem occurs. This profile can identify risk factors in specific areas of heart related health through genetic testing. A nutritional therapist can go through the results with you and provide advice on diet and lifestyle changes to reduce your disease risk. CardioGenomic Plus Profile.
Lifestyle Choices – There are many factors in everyday life that can have an effect on health. Whether it be from the environment, diet, exercise and stress. The Comprehensive Cardiovascular Assessment can provide 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 in addition to giving other health benefits. If you previously did little physical activity a nutritional therapist can help you to put together an appropriate and enjoyable exercise regime as part of your hypertension treatment plan.