Manage your blood pressure

  1.  Why important to manage your blood pressure? 

  2.  Five ways you can manage blood pressure better. 

    [Time to read: 7 mins]

1. Why important to manage blood pressure (BP)?

Remember, 1 person in every 4 adults has high blood pressure (BP) [32]. Now new USA research shows it can be as high as 1 in 3 people [37]. This can lead to heart diseases, strokes, dementia [42] and kidney diseases.   Half those who have high BP are not receiving any treatment [33], and another 1 in 3 patients are not taking their pills often enough [28]. Often there are no clear symptoms of high BP, which is why it is called the ‘silent killer’. You have to take blood pressure tests to know.

 [Source: Public Health England, Jan. 2017]

If you have high BP, every 10 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure (the higher figure) almost cuts in half  your chances of getting heart diseases, and reduces strokes [32] and later dementia risks [43].

High blood pressure has been a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher. This means you must see your GP for treatment to bring it down, both lifestyle changes and possibly medication [NICE CG 127].


Ideal blood pressure is between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg.

What do you do if your readings are over 130/80, but under 140/90?  Nov. 2017 new USA guideline from the American Heart Association & American College of Cardiology says, after analysing 1000 recent studies, inc. SPRINT 2015 [37], “this is Stage 1 hypertension” (high blood pressure), and it needs action [35].

People with longer exposure to hypertension (Systolic BP ≥ 130 mm Hg) between ages of 45 and 61 years have an increased risk of dementia [43].

2.  Five ways to manage your blood pressure better

  1. If you think you are at risk, have a regular blood pressure test at your doctor/GP or pharmacy. Another good choice is to buy your own BP monitor and measure it at home. This can be more accurate, as it is easier to rest there for the 5 minutes needed before each measurement. Make sure you choose a monitor that is reliable, e.g. Which? a UK independent consumer body ‘best buys’. Then use a mobile app to store your readings and present them in a useful way for you and your doctor/GP.
  2. The UK NHS says to reduce your blood pressure if it is high,  follow treatments your doctor recommends. Also here are 12 extra ways to cut your blood pressure without drugs. Small changes can improve your health [11, 18, 25].
  3. Improve your diet, more fruit and veg, more seafood, ‘omega-3’ fats, more nuts and seeds. Less salt and much less processed meats [31, 36]. Usually, eat less!
  4. So what do you do if your blood pressure (BP) is over 130/80 but under 140/90 mm Hg? The new USA expert review by the American College of Cardiology and 9 other USA professional heart health societies decided that people in this BP range have “stage 1 high blood pressure”.  They are almost twice as likely to get heart and stroke diseases compared with others with a normal BP (120/80 mm Hg or less) [35]. And are at higher risk of dementia later [43]. So, this means you need to take action to reduce your BP and talk with your doctor/GP.

5. Lifestyle changes are recommended. If the patient also has high risks for heart diseases, medication may be recommended as well [35]. NHS NICE is now reviewing its UK guideline [CG 127], to take account of the new USA findings on blood pressure.

Also see often asked questions on heart diseases and strokes.

page updated 19 Dec. 2018.  © 2018 social enterprise™ Ltd.