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The Risks of High Blood Pressure and How to Prevent It

What Is High Blood Pressure?

According to the NHS, “Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).”

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition where the systolic and diastolic numbers are raised above recommended parameters. When the results are received they should be looked at by a medical professional, because what is considered high for one person may be normal for another. Individualised advice can then be given to each person by the medical professional concerned.


What Causes High Blood Pressure?

It’s not always obvious what causes high blood pressure, however certain factors can increase your risk. These include:

  • Being overweight
  • An unbalanced diet
  • Not doing enough exercise
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
  • Having disturbed sleep
  • Being over 65
  • Having a relative with high blood pressure

What are the Risks of High Blood Pressure?

Having high blood pressure can put extra strain on vital organs of the body, such as the heart, kidneys, brain, and blood vessels. Having persistently high blood pressure can increase the risk of serious health conditions that can be potentially life-threatening. These include:

  • Heart disease/attacks
  • Strokes
  • Aortic aneurysms
  • Vascular dementia

Reducing your blood pressure even a small amount can have a positive impact on the severity of these health conditions.

Heart Disease

If the coronary arteries become blocked or restricted by fatty substances it can disrupt the blood supply to the heart. This can be caused by smoking, excessive alcohol, diet, and other lifestyle choices. Heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease, when the fatty deposits rupture and a blood clot is formed. The blood clot can then restrict the blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.

Strokes

If a blood vessel in the brain bursts, or a blood clot prevents the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, it is called a stroke. High blood pressure can make the risk of a stroke worse, as can certain lifestyle choices, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

Aortic aneurysm

The aorta is the largest artery in the body and carries blood away from your heart to the circulatory system. An aneurysm is a bulge or swelling in the aorta which can be very dangerous if not spotted and treated appropriately. Having high blood pressure can increase the risk of an aneurysm.

Vascular dementia

After Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia is the most common type diagnosed. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “people who have problems with their heart and blood circulation, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, have a higher risk of developing vascular dementia.” Therefore, lifestyle choices that can increase the risk of high blood pressure can also increase the risk of developing vascular dementia too.


How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure isn’t always caused by lifestyle choices – it can develop because of being over the age of 65, or through hereditary tendencies. There are some things we can do to try and prevent high blood pressure though, and these can include what we consume, and how we live our lives.

Nutrition

By eating well, we can maintain a healthy weight, which can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure in many cases. Eating a varied diet, without too much fat or salt, and with plenty of fruit and vegetables, can help to keep weight within recommended parameters. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding too much alcohol can also be beneficial.

Medication

Medication to regulate high blood pressure will be considered on an individualised case by your doctor, however if it’s decided that it would benefit you, your GP will decide what type you need and the dosage you should be prescribed.

Lifestyle Changes

A medical professional may advise you to change certain elements of your lifestyle if your blood pressure appears to be consistently high. These could include getting more exercise, stopping smoking, having more sleep, and losing weight. Unlike hereditary risk or being over 65, lifestyle is something we largely have control over, and by making even subtle changes, we may be able to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.


How Live-In Care Can Help with Maintaining Your Blood Pressure

Live-in care from Helping Hands can be highly beneficial in helping you maintain a lifestyle that can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. This is because a live-in carer will reside in your home and can support you to live the lifestyle you wish, whether that’s preparing nutritious food, helping you with your medication, or supporting you to take exercise. Because we’ve been supporting people to live as independently as possible in their own homes since we were founded in 1989, we are experts in every aspect of care.

This could be physical, emotional, or holistic care, but regardless of how you need us, our amazing live-in carers will be there for you around the clock. And because every aspect of our care is fully regulated by the Care Quality Commission and Care Inspectorate Wales, you and your loved ones can be confident in our consistently high standards of service.

If you would like to discover more about our live-in and visiting care services across the whole of England and Wales, you can call us, contact us via our website, or request a call back for a time that suits you better.

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