The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says:
High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans. In 2017, nearly half a million deaths in the United States included hypertension (high blood pressure) as a primary or contributing cause.
According to the UK National Health Service (NHS):
High blood pressure is a warning signal of many threats to your health, including heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, and vascular dementia.
If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.
Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realize it. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
You can always ask the doctor to measure your blood pressure, but why not buy a low-cost device to measure it yourself regularly?
They are easy to use, and give you a pulse rate, as well as the high/low blood pressure readings. If you want to know in detail whether your readings are high, then there are online tools where you can type in your readings and it will tell you.
Most health authorities recommend now that, whatever your age, you should keep your blood pressure below 120/80.
The higher figure is called Systolic, and the lower one Diastolic, and both are important.
So what’s a worrying pressure?
If the first of the two figures measured (Systolic) is in the range 130 to 139 it’s called “Stage 1” hypertension (ie, high pressure). This is also the case if your second figure (Diastolic) is in the range 80 to 89.
This is not good news, and you need to take action if you’re in this range. As it happens, you’ve plenty of company, as nearly half of American adults either are in this range, or are on medication to keep below it.
How to prevent high pressure?
There’s a temptation to not worry about blood pressure, and rely on the doctor to prescribe medication if it gets too high, but far better to avoid the situation in the first place.
You really don’t want to take medication if you can avoid it with simple lifestyle measures.
The NHS says that making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high. And they include: Not smoking, Not being overweight, Eating less salt, Eating more fruit and vegetables, Doing more exercise, Cutting back on alcohol and coffee, Getting enough quality sleep.
The CDC similarly recommends:
• Eat a Healthy Diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
• Keep Yourself at a Healthy Weight
• Be Physically Active, eg. 30 minutes each day of brisk walking
• Do Not Smoke
• Limit How Much Alcohol You Drink
• Get Enough Sleep
By the way, although the national authorities are happy if you keep your pressure below 120/80, in “How Not to Die” Dr. Greger reckons that everyone should aim to get down to 110/65, through a combination of diet and exercise.
Link to my post on “Heart Disease”
Link to my post “Stroke”
Link to my post on “How Not to Die”