Heart Health Matters - High Blood Pressure

What is high blood pressure (also known as hypertension)?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood pumping around our veins and arteries.  A certain amount of pressure is needed to enable blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to different parts of the body.

It is normal for your blood pressure to vary at different times of the day depending on whether you are exercising or resting.

It when this pressure is consistently high even when resting that high blood pressure or hypertension is diagnosed.

High blood pressure can lead to serious complications if left untreated such as heart attack or stroke so it is important to get it checked as symptoms are not always obvious. You can get your blood pressure checked by a quick simple test at

  • GP surgeries
  • Some pharmacies
  • Some workplaces also offer blood pressure checks as part of a health assessment.


The cause of high blood pressure isn’t always known but diet and lifestyle are thought to be contributing factor.

Thankfully, key dietary and healthy lifestyle tweaks can make a big difference to tackling hypertension. Below are two that have been shown to have significantly positive influence of reducing blood pressure.

Know your units

Over doing it on the alcohol can increase the risk of high blood pressure, it’s advisable if you do drink to stick within the recommended limits and have  at least 2 alcohol free days per week. 

  • Men 3-4 units per day that’s around a pint of beer or strong lager.
  • Women 2-3 units per day thats equivalent to a 175ml 12%ABV  glass of wine.

These are daily units and should’t be saved up to be used in one sitting.

Try to ensure you have regular non alcohol drinks as part of your diet aiming for 6-8 glasses per day.

Steady with the salt

Most of our salt allowance is already within the food….especially once you hear that 6g per day is the maximum recommended total amount per day = 1 teaspoon!

How?

  • Don’t add salt when cooking and remove it from the dinner table, try experimenting with herbs and spices instead.
  • Read food labels and go for  ‘no added salt’ options especially when choosing snacks.
  • Try making your own no added salt sauces or stock to use in cooking.


More useful information on diet and heart health can be found at the British Heart Foundation.  Healthy eating - reduce your risk of developing heart disease (bhf.org.uk)

Let us know if you make any changes following reading this or any great tips that you can share.