Hypertension is the formal term for high blood pressure.
It can lead to heart disease, so it’s important to take steps to reduce your blood pressure if it’s high. Some of the symptoms of hypertension include headaches, nosebleeds, blurred vision or dizziness, but you might not have any symptoms at all. The only way to be sure, is to have your blood pressure measured.
Why your blood pressure is high
If you are told that your blood pressure is high, try and find out the reasons for this. Sometimes hypertension is due to some underlying condition, such as adrenal gland tumours, kidney problems, or hereditary problems with the blood vessels. Certain medications can also raise your blood pressure. If the cause is known, you may be able to take steps to address it.
However, there may be no known underlying cause. In this case, it’s very likely you have high cholesterol, which narrows the blood vessels and raises the blood pressure. In this case, the good news is there are many steps you can take to reduce high blood pressure without using medication. Some simple changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference.
What you can do about it
The risk of hypertension increases with age, obesity and certain lifestyle factors. While you can’t do anything about your age, you can do other things to lower a problematic blood pressure.
Most importantly, lose weight if you need to. Losing weight is difficult for most of us, and if your weight could be a factor in your high blood pressure, then get help as soon as possible to lose weight safely.
Other things you will need to address if you have hypertension include:
• If you smoke, then stop. Again, seek help with this if you find it too difficult to do by willpower alone.
• Exercise more. Around 30 minutes of exercise that gets you out of breath each day is recommended, but do seek advice first to make sure your planned exercise is suitable for your health.
• Reduce your alcohol intake.
• If you’re stressed, or work in a stressful environment, look for ways to reduce that stress.
• Make sure you sleep well. If you suffer from poor sleep, there is help available.
• Eat a healthy diet – for example, include bananas, onions, garlic, and reduce your salt intake.
Of course, these are the things we all know about. They’re common sense. But we can become too familiar with the healthy lifestyle message and fail to make the small adjustments that could save our lives.