Do you Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers?

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Knowing your blood pressure numbers should be as important as knowing your height and weight as what you don’t know about the ins and outs of your blood pressure could be very harmful.

Every year 125,000 adults suffer a heart attack or stroke due to high blood pressure. We’ve recently had #KnowYourNumbers week which aims to raise awareness around the importance of knowing your blood pressure and taking the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure.

The awareness campaign started in 2001 and helped more than 1.5 million people get their blood pressure checked and even had its success rewarded in the past with a Charity Award for healthcare.

The ins & outs of blood pressure

When the blood pumps around your body it provides the energy and oxygen your body needs. Your blood pressure reading is a measure of the blood flow combined with the resistance of your artery walls. Having high blood pressure means that your heart is working harder than it is supposed to and your arteries have narrowed which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack.

Approximately one in four men and one in five women aged between 35-44 have high blood pressure and falling into the overweight category with their BMI can be a factor.

There are no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure which adds additional emphasis on the importance of keeping on top of getting regular checks. Just because you might feel fine, don’t put off popping to the doctors and getting checked. Most doctors have the facilities to do this without an appointment, or you can purchase your own machine from a pharmacy.

Unless you are told otherwise, your blood pressure reading should be below 140 over 90. These numbers reflect the pressure your heart reaches when it is contracting and pumping blood, and the lower number represents your relaxed heartbeat.

How can I improve my blood pressure?

By remaining healthy in all areas of your life you lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke, amongst other illnesses, but a healthy blood pressure can have a direct impact on keeping these issues at bay.

So how do you do that? 5 key things have an impact on your healthy lifestyle:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Remaining active
  • Not smoking
  • Limiting your alcohol intake

The British Heart Foundation recommend everyone over 40 gets their blood pressure taken professionally as part of their annual health check.

What can cause high blood pressure?

Your blood pressure can increase if:

  • You don’t do enough physical activity
  • You are overweight
  • You eat too much salt in your diet
  • You drink too much alcohol on a regular basis
  • You have a family history of high blood pressure

The aim of this awareness week is to educate about the problems that high blood pressure can cause, and the importance of getting a regular check-up.

Health Shield members can get assistance in improving their diet and exercise regime within the mywellness section of the Members’ Area.

If you are attending the Employee Benefits Exhibition this October in London, visit our stand 654 and take part in a free mini health check.