High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure is a common condition whereby the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is strong enough to cause a tear in the lining. When this happens, a waxy substance called cholesterol can enter into the arteries, a mechanism that can lead to heart disease. Unfortunately, there are usually no symptoms to alert you to this dangerous process.
However, hypertensive urgencies can trigger perceptible changes in the body.
Hypertensive urgency is a marked elevation in blood pressure without evidence of organ damage.
A study published in the journal Hypertension sought to map out the symptoms associated with hypertensive urgencies.
The study evaluated the prevalence of hypertensive urgencies in an emergency department during 12 months of observation.
The most frequent signs observed were headache, epistaxis (nosebleeds), faintness, and psychomotor agitation.
Psychomotor refers to a wide range of actions involving physical movement related to conscious cognitive processing.
In most cases, however, high blood pressure rarely produces noticeable symptoms.
“So the only way to find out if you have it is to get your blood pressure checked,” explains the NHS.
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Blood pressure testing is available:
- At your GP surgery – by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
- At some pharmacies
- At an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults aged 40 to 74 in England
- In some workplaces
- At a health event.
According to the NHS, you can also test your blood pressure at home using a home testing kit.
“Like 24-hour or ambulatory monitoring, this can give a better reflection of your blood pressure.”
How to reverse a high blood pressure reading
Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily reversed by making simple lifestyle tweaks.
One of the most simple yet effective interventions you can make is to reduce your salt intake.
Action on Salt, a group concerned with salt and its effects on health, explains: “A high salt diet disrupts the natural sodium balance in the body.”
As the health body explains, this causes the body to retain water, which increases the pressure of the pushing of blood against the vessel walls.
“As a nation, if we can cut one gram of salt from our average daily salt intake, there would be approximately 6,000 fewer deaths from strokes and heart attacks each year in the UK,” it adds.
UK health guidelines advise that adults eat no more than six grams of salt a day (2.4g sodium) – that’s around one teaspoon.
Overhauling your diet should also be complemented with regular physical exercise.
“Being active lowers your blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good shape, lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke,” explains Blood Pressure UK.
The health body adds: “If you have high blood pressure, your doctor or nurse will probably suggest that you try to become more active to lower it.”
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