High Blood Pressure
Around one third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure with the chances that you have high blood pressure increasing as you get older. High blood pressure does not usually lead to any symptoms so it is not possible to know that your blood pressure is raised unless you have it measured. If high blood pressure is not treated it will increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. It can also lead to breathlessness. Lifestyle changes can help lower your blood pressure and there are many medications to treat your high blood pressure.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure is taken, the reading gives two figures. The larger number, the top number, is the systolic pressure. This is the peak pressure when your heart pumps blood around your body. The smaller number, the bottom number, is the diastolic pressure. This indicates the blood pressure when your heart is at rest and also shows how much your arteries resist the flow of blood. Normal blood pressure is less than 130/85 mmHg. If your blood pressure is consistently more than 140/90 mmHg drug treatment should be considered.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Although you are more likely to have high blood pressure as you get older some factors make you more susceptible to high blood pressure including:
Family history of hypertension
African or Caribbean descent
Certain medications (eg non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or oral contraceptives)
An inactive lifestyle
A diet high in salt
Lifestyle changes can both prevent high blood pressure and lower raised blood pressure. Losing excess weight, taking more exercise and making changes to your diet, drinking and smoking will benefit your blood pressure. In addition there are medications available to manage your high blood pressure.
Treating High Blood Pressure
A variety of drugs to treat high blood pressure are available and you may need a combination of treatments to sufficiently lower your blood pressure. Common medications for high blood pressure include ACE inhibitors (eg Perindopril and Ramipril), angiotensin receptor blockers (eg Losartan and Candesartan), calcium channel blockers (eg Amlodpine), diuretics (eg Bendroflumethiazide or Indapamide), alpha-blockers (eg Doxazosin) and beta-blockers (eg Atenolol and Bisoprolol). The exact medications chosen will depend on your age, the level of your blood pressure and other medication conditions that you may have. Often more than one medication is required to properly control your blood pressure and over time you may require more medications to keep your blood pressure adequately controlled. ing lifestyle changes and adhering to the treatments prescribed, our team can assess whether you would benefit from a different medication regime to offer better blood pressure control.