Known as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure rarely has obvious symptoms.
According to the NHS, around 30 per cent of people in England have high blood pressure but many don’t know it. If left untreated, high blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The only way of knowing there is a problem is to have your blood pressure measured.
There are many conditions like pregnancy and being over weight that can cause your blood pressure to rise. With pregnancy, it usually rectifies itself when you deliver but for diabetics, smokers and other people, it is a constant worry.
Short of being at your doctors 24-7, one option is a personal blood pressure monitor that can be used at home.
I was given such a monitor for me to try out for myself.
It is a wrist version which is much easier to use on yourself than the cumbersome upper arm band health professionals use.
All you do is strap it on and press start. There is also a memory button that will let you compare your blood pressure over a period of your choice. There is an automatic irregular heartbeat (arhythmia) detection and WHO hypertension indicator so if you were in danger, it would tell you. Thee is also an average blood pressure calculation at the push of a button-what more could you need?
I do have trouble with high blood pressure but I did think much of it was white coat syndrome- you know where your blood pressure increases when a doctor does it.
At least with this I would find out once and for all whether it was the white coat sydrome or if I need to see a doctor.
Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries (large blood vessels) as it is pumped around your body by your heart. If this pressure is too high it puts a strain on your arteries and your heart, which makes it more likely that you will suffer a heart attack, a stroke or kidney disease.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and it is recorded as two figures:
• systolic pressure: the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out
• diastolic pressure: the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats
For example, if your GP says your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
You are said to have high blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) if readings on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher.
A blood pressure reading below 130/80mmHg is considered to be normal.
To be honest, I didn’t really understand any of this until I found the chart, Blood Pressure UK. Their website explains everything an even has a handy chart which explains the different measures of blood pressure.
The NHS say your chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure but you are at increased risk if you:
• are overweight
• have a relative with high blood pressure
• are of African or Caribbean descent
• eat a lot of salt
• don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables
• don’t do enough exercise
• drink a lot of coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
• drink a lot of alcohol
• are aged over 65
If you fall into any of the groups listed above, you are encouraged to try and change your lifestyle-especially by stopping smoking, reducing salt and losing weight (hence my 40daychallenge).
It just goes to show though, your ‘typical’ person with high blood pressure may not be as typical as you think. Anyone can get it at any age and it is down to genes as well as lifestyle.
These blood pressure monitors are great for people to take control of their own health.
Please be advised though, if you continue to get a consistently low or high reading on your own monitor, you must seek professional health care advice from a doctor or hospital.
To find out more about Oztech monitors, visit: Amazon
*Disclaimer. I was given an Ozeri Cardiotech blood pressure monitor for free to review but all views are my own unless stated.