Having persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of health conditions, some of which are potentially life-threatening. These include heart diseaseheart attack, heart failure and stroke.

To reduce your risk of these conditions, it is wise to keep your blood pressure in check. In this blog post, we explore how to lower blood pressure. Read on for easy tips and lifestyle changes that will help you get your blood pressure within a healthy range.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is measured by systolic pressure (the higher number) over diastolic pressure (the lower number). Both of these metrics are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

The healthy range of blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. If your blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or higher, you have high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may develop high blood pressure if you don’t take action to lower it.

Here is a video explaining what high blood pressure is and how it can affect your health.

Lifestyle factors that increase your risk of high blood pressure

High blood pressure doesn’t always have a known cause, but the following things can increase your risk of high blood pressure:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Eating too much salt
  • Not eating enough fruit or vegetables
  • Being overweight
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Consuming too much caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Not getting enough sleep

The good news is that these are factors that you can influence and change, with some simple changes.

How to lower blood pressure

Here are some simple ways you can lower your blood pressure:

  • Getting more exercise. Try going for a brisk 30 minute walk once a day.
  • Eating less salt. Try using spices or black pepper to flavour food instead.
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables. Making a smoothie in the morning is a great way to up your intake.
  • Managing your weight. Try to eat fewer calories than you burn if you need to lose weight.
  • Reducing your alcohol intake. Try swapping out every other drink for water.
  • Reducing your caffeine intake. Try decaf options or herbal tea.
  • Quit smoking. The NHS stop smoking services can help you quit.
  • Get more sleep. Try going to bed earlier to give you time for 7-9 hours.

Other factors that increase your risk of high blood pressure

It is important to note that there are some factors that increase your risk of high blood pressure that you can’t change.

You are at a higher risk of high blood pressure if you are over 65 or have a relative with high blood pressure.

Your ethnicity can also influence your risk. People who are of black African or black Caribbean descent are at a greater risk of high blood pressure.

When to see a doctor

If the risk factors for high blood pressure apply to you, it is a good idea to book a heart screening.

At your heart screening, an expert cardiologist will check your overall heart health, including your blood pressure. This can detect the early warning signs of heart disease so we can put a treatment plan in place to improve your heart health.

Put your heart health first. Book an appointment today.