If you’ve been told you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure, or you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, there are things you can do to help prevent it, or reduce it.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is not usually something that you can feel or notice. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. So it’s really important to take what action you can.
You can find out more about hypertension on the NHS UK website.
Here's how you can help
Studies have shown that changing lifestyle factors is at least as effective as taking one medication for high blood pressure. Here are a few things you can do:
- Exercise regularly – Try to do some moderate-intensity activity every day and build up to at least 150 minutes per week or more. Visit our wellbeing page to find out more and about local services that can help you.
- Reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet – the British heart Foundation have some good salt-slashing tactics. Visit our wellbeing page to find out more and about local services that can help you eat a healthy balanced diet.
- Don’t drink too much – if you drink alcohol, stick within the recommended limits. To keep the risks low, it is recommended that both men and women drink no more than 14 units per week. Visit our wellbeing page to find out more and about local services that can help you.
- Keep to a healthy weight – for some people, losing weight is all they need to do to get their blood pressure down to a normal level. Visit our wellbeing page to find out more and about local services that can help you.
- Cut down on caffeine – drinking more than 4 cups of coffee per day can increase your blood pressure. Consider switching to decaf as an easy way to cut down on your daily caffeine. Be careful with energy drinks as they often contain high amounts of caffeine.
- Stop smoking – visit our wellbeing page to find out more and about local services that can help you
Take your medicines as prescribed
Most people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure will need to take one or more medicines to control their blood pressure. Take your medication as prescribed and don’t stop taking it without consulting your GP first.
Know your numbers
Because high blood pressure is not usually something that you can feel or notice, it’s important that you get it checked regularly. Your GP or nurse at Middlewood will have advised you when you need to get it checked at the surgery. You can also buy blood pressure monitors that you can use at home. They are widely available online or at your local Pharmacy. We know that people often feel a bit anxious when they come in to the Surgery, and so your own Home readings are often a more accurate reflection of what your blood pressure is doing day to day.
Measuring your blood pressure at home
Blood pressure UK has some useful information on how you can measure your blood pressure at home and also has advice on choosing a monitor.
Keeping a blood pressure diary
Once you are set up for measuring your blood pressure at home, it is useful to keep a home blood pressure diary.
This will help your doctor or nurse see how your blood pressure is responding to treatment and lifestyle changes, and if you need a change in treatment.
Then take your record along with you to your appointments.