Blood pressure – Know your numbers

Know your Numbers! is Blood Pressure UK’s flagship awareness campaign. It encourages adults across the UK to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.  

When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to supply the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes. Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is not usually something that you feel or notice. It does not tend to produce obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is by having it measured. When you have your blood pressure measured it is written like this: 120/80mmHg, which is said ‘120 over 80’. The first number is the systolic pressure, when your heart pushes blood around your body. The second is the diastolic pressure, when your heart relaxes. Most adults in the UK have blood pressure readings in the range from 120 over 80 (120/80) to 140 over 90 (140/90). If your blood pressure is outside of this range, you should be taking steps to bring it down or to stop it rising any further. Even if you do not have high blood pressure at the moment, it is important to keep your blood pressure as low as you can. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems. If you have other health conditions, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, this further increases your risk of health problems. It is then even more important to lower your high blood pressure. To maintain a healthy level and reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease it is really important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and you can do this by:
  • Cutting out salt
  • Drinking in moderation
  • Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables
  • Losing weight if required
  • Maintaining a healthy level of exercise
Monitoring your blood pressure using a home blood pressure monitor can be a really useful way of seeing what your blood pressure is like in your daily life. There is a wide range of home blood pressure monitors available, but it is important to be sure that the blood pressure monitor you choose is accurate and the right one for you. For more information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle to benefit your blood pressure visit http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/microsites/kyn/Home/AboutKYN/BPbasics/Howtolowerit

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