Manage blood pressure

  1.  Why important to manage your blood pressure? 
  2.  5 ways you can manage it better.                             [Time to read: 5 mins]

1. Why important to manage blood pressure?

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 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: PHE 0917 [Source: Public Health England, Jan. 2017]

If you have high BP, every 10 mm Hg reduction in blood pressure almost cuts in half  your chances of getting heart diseases, and reduces strokes [32].

  • 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 medication [NICE CG 127].
  • Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg.
  • fitness man runningSo what do you do if all your readings are over 130/80, but under 140/90?  The new Nov. 2017 USA guideline from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology answers this, based on 1000 recent studies, including SPRINT 2015 [37]. It says, “this is Stage 1 hypertension” (Stage 1 high blood pressure), and it needs action [35].

2.  5 ways to manage your Blood Pressure better

  1. If you think you are at risk, have a regular blood pressure test at your 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? best buys; and has a mobile app to store your readings and to present them in a useful way for you and your GP.
  2. NHS Choices 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 in between? That is, if it 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 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 mmHg) [35]. So, this means you need to take action to reduce your BP and talk with your GP. Lifestyle changes are recommended. But 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 [CG127], to take account of the USA findings.
  5. As recommended on next page, improve your lifestyle.

page updated 12 May 2018.  © 2018 social enterprise Diabetes-cutmyrisks.co.uk.™ Ltd.

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