High blood pressure: Three signs the condition has reached a ‘life-threatening stage’
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Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it, according to the NHS. Indeed, many people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if their blood pressure is reaching dangerously high levels. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
Though it does not often display symptoms, a few people with high blood pressure may show some signs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Indeed, those with high blood pressure may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds.
Nonetheless, the site warns: “These signs and symptoms aren’t specific and usually don’t occur until high blood pressure has reached a severe or life-threatening stage.”
All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
The Mayo Clinic says: “You can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
“Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.”
The higher your blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage.
You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
The accuracy of these machines depends on several factors, such as a correct cuff size and proper use of the machines.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control,” says the NHS.
The health service adds that it’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are things that can increase your risk.
For example, you might be more at risk if you are overweight, eat too much salt, do not do enough exercise, drink too much alcohol or caffeine-based drinks, or if you smoke.
The NHS adds that if you do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep, are over 65, have a relative with high blood pressure, or are of black African or black Caribbean descent, you may be at increased risk.
Nonetheless, healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure.
Evidence shows there are significant health benefits to getting at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
The NHS says: “Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure.
“Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.”
You also need to be vigilant about your salt intake, the health body says.
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