High blood pressure affects millions of people worldwide, greatly increasing the risks of developing health complications such as heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease.

Since it presents with no symptoms (and called the ‘silent killer’) the only way you will know if you have hypertension is by having it measured. If your readings are consistently above 140/90 mmHg then your doctor will probably diagnose you as having high blood pressure. If this does happen it’s important not to panic, since, in the first instance simply by making informed lifestyle changes you can often lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is very high, you may be prescribed tablets as well as being asked to make changes.

Medicines for high blood pressure

There is strong evidence to suggest that controlling your high blood pressure via medications will reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. In many cases people who take tablets for their high blood pressure suffer no problems and generally feel better. As with all drugs however there can be some side-effects, so if you feel unwell you should seek advice from your doctor – your meds may need a bit of fine-tuning before the ideal solution is found.
Tablets for high BP are something that the majority of people will have to take for the rest of their lives, and taking them regularly is extremely important. Once you get into a routine, however, taking your daily medications will become just another part of your life, like brushing your teeth. Once your blood pressure is controlled you can get on with your life as normal.

What to avoid if you have high blood pressure

Inactivity. Exercise is one of the best ways you can help to reduce your hypertension. However don’t overdo it – especially if you haven’t been active recently or want to take up a new form of exercise. Build up slowly – you should still be able to talk to someone while you’re exercising. And make sure to warm up and cool down each time you exercise.

Drinking too much alcohol. If you drink too much this will raise blood pressure over time. And since alcohol has lots of calories you will put on weight, which will also increase blood pressure. Try low alcohol options on a night out, or add water or a mixer and always check the labels on drinks to find out how many units they contain.

Salt. Avoid the hidden salt in foods and stop using salt when cooking or at the table. According to Blood Pressure UK, foods that are considered low in salt have less than 0.3 g salt per 100g, while foods high in salt have 1.5g of salt in 100g of food.

Being overweight. It’s important to control your weight in order to control blood pressure. Your doctor should be able to advise you on a healthy weight for you by using a calculation known as the Body Mass Index (BMI). If you’re overweight you are at risk of not only having high BP but other problems including diabetes, so it makes sense to tackle this if it applies to you.

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