High blood pressure – also known as hypertension – is when your blood pressure is constantly higher than the recommended level. If you have high blood pressure, you run a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, and over time it can cause the heart to become abnormally large,or the pumping action of the heart to become less effective.
High blood pressure rarely makes people feel ill, so the only way of knowing if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.
What causes high blood pressure?
In nine out of ten people, there is no definite cause of high blood pressure. However, the following can all play a part.
Not doing enough physical activity Being overweight Having too much salt in your diet Drinking too much alcohol Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
Genes are another factor. So, if one or both of your parents have (or had) high blood pressure, you are at more risk of developing it too.
What you can do
If you have high blood pressure, it is essential to control it. Even reducing your blood pressure by a small amount can lower your risk of problems in the future. To reduce your blood pressure, or prevent it from getting high, you can do the following things.
Do more physical activity Keep to a healthy weight Cut down on salt Cut down on alcohol Eat more fruit and vegetables
If you do develop high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart.