Blood Pressure Awareness
Know Your Numbers Week! 18-24 September 2017This is the uk’s largest blood pressure testing and raising awareness event. There are no common symptoms so it’s vitally important to have your blood pressure checked regularly to detect early if you’re at risk from stroke even heart disease.
- 9/10 strokes are preventable, so it’s important regardless of age to get it checked.
- 60% of stroke’s are due to high blood pressure and is increasing in figures among young adult’s.
What you can doVisit your nearest Pressure station and find out whether your numbers are within normal range during Know Your Numbers Week 18th September – 24th September
What is Blood PressureThe pressure of blood is controlled in the arteries, if it’s too high it can narrow the blood vessels and arteries in the body and can lead to damage of the heart and brain. If left untreated for too long it could lead to stroke, heart attack or heart failure, this could cause kidney disease, dementia and certain eye conditions. Hypertension(high blood pressure) doesn’t usually have symptoms so is commonly known as the ‘silent killer’ The good news is it can be treated if checked early and there are lots that can be done wether your numbers are in a high or normal range, and to also record your numbers the same way you check your height and weight. Encourage your family and friends to do the same and let’s know our numbers to help prevent stroke and heart disease.
The numbers and what they meanBlood pressure numbers are used to measure how hard the heart is working to push blood round the body.
- The first number is called Systolic pressure(when the heart has pushed blood round the body)
- The second number is diastolic pressure(when the heart relaxes)
The BrainHigh blood pressure if left untreated can cause narrowing of the blood vessels and therefore potentially becoming blocked or burst. Cells in the brain can then become damaged or die, this is called a stroke.
Signs of Stroke
- Severe headache
- Feeling unsteady, confusion, or losing co-ordination
- slurring words or having difficulty understanding what people are saying
- suddenly losing vision or blurred vision
- feeling numb or weak (or being paralysed) on one side of the body.
The FAST test below is used by the stroke association, to recognise signs of stroke
- F- Facial weakness
- Can the person smile,has their mouth or eye drooped, face fallen on one side
- A - Arm weakness
- Can they raise both arms and keep them there
- S - Speech problems Is their speech slurred, can they understand what you say, can they speak clearly
- T - Time to call 999
- if you see even one of these signs
Heart and ArteriesArteries carry blood from the heart to all the major organs in the body. The pushing of blood against the artery walls as it flows through the body is called blood pressure. To manage the pressure, the artery’s can become narrower or wider due to minute muscles within them that control their shape. This opening and closing effects your blood pressure, the narrower your arteries the higher the pressure. The artery will then eventually thicken to push back harder, this means eventually there will be less space for the blood to flow through. Raising pressure further. If left untreated the artery could become blocked or burst, the organ then relying on getting blood from this artery will then be starved of oxygen and cells could die If the burst artery supplies a part of the brain then the result is a stroke. If the burst artery supplies a part of the heart, then that area of heart muscle will die, causing a heart attack.
How you can help your arteriesYou can help your arteries to stay healthy by keeping your blood pressure controlled, and by following a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating will give your body the energy and nutrients it needs to keep it in good condition. Getting active will also keep your heart and blood vessels fit and healthy. Many of the medicines used to treat high blood pressure work to keep the arteries wider. They do this by acting on directly on the muscles in the artery wall, or by controlling hormones that act on these muscles.
Reducing Blood PressureBelow are a number of steps which can all help to lower blood pressure, some will act faster than others, but the key is to try all of them as they also contribute to a healthier lifestyle too. If some or all of these steps are implemented daily, they’ll work together in helping you maintain a healthy heart and healthy blood pressure.
Treating high blood pressureAnother way to lower your blood pressure is through medication prescribed by your doctor. There are lots of treatments available, and with taking your medication as prescribed and incorporating the steps above you can live a healthier life at your best.
Types of blood pressure medicinesAll blood pressure medicines each have different effects on lowering blood pressure. One medicine may work to lower blood pressure but then your body may then try to raise it. In this instance you may need to take more than one medicine to control the effects of your body trying to raise it. Sometimes those with high blood pressure may need to take two or three different medications to get the best results. There are 4 common types that are used to treat high blood pressure:
- ACE Inhibitors: Control hormones that affect blood pressure (commonly end in ‘pril’)
- Angiotensin Receptor Blockers(ARB’S): These also have an effect on controlling hormones that can effect blood pressure(commonly end in ‘artan)
- Calcium channel blockers: Relax the arteries, widening them, which then lowers blood pressure(commonly end in ‘Pine’)
- Thiazide Diuretics:Remove unwanted fluid from the body which then lowers blood pressure(end in ‘ide)
Coping with high blood pressure
- Know the medications you are using are there to treat your blood pressure effectively as your body needs help to lower it.
- Keep a routine of taking your medicines at the same time every day, blood pressure is usually highest in the morning so taking them with your morning breakfast could be an ideal way to ensure they are not missed. Setting reminders on your phone to beep when medicines are due to be taken could be helpful if you lead a particularly busy lifestyle.
- Read the information that comes with your medication, it’s important to know what your taking and what it does.
- Measure your blood pressure at home to ensure it’s in the right range
- Lead a healthy lifestyle and implement it through the family, so it encourages healthy habits for the whole family.