High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure - an inevitability or something that can be managed

For those of you who have been wondering, blood pressure is defined as the pressure of your blood on the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. Keeping a healthy blood pressure is vital to how your heart and circulation work. 

It is normal for your blood pressure to go up and down, adjusting to the need of your heart depending on what you are doing at the time.  Unfortunately, for people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it doesn’t return to normal and is persistently high.

For those of you who visit your GP regularly, he will hopefully take your blood pressure.  Make sure you ask your GP what your blood pressure is; don’t just accept words like “it’s a bit high” or “it is fine”.  Doctors recommend that adults should keep their blood pressure under 120/80mm Hg.  If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and about 139/89, then it is considered to be OK but in the higher of the “normal” ranges. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in 3 adult Australians had high blood pressure in 2015.  That is a significant number, especially as high blood pressure is widely recognised as one of the many risk factors for developing more serious heart disease.  High blood pressure is more prevalent as we age because, usually because of lifestyle factors and a reduction in the elasticity of the walls of the arteries over time. 

As we get older it is important to have our blood pressure checked regularly.  If your blood pressure is consistently high, it is important to get t under control so that you reduce the risk of developing further heart problems.   Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. It may also affect your kidneys.

Causes

The exact causes of high blood pressure are often not clear. Your blood pressure may be strongly influenced by:

  • eating patterns, including salty foods
  • family history
  • excessive alcohol intake
  • being overweight
  • not doing enough exercise

Some medicines can also raise blood pressure.

Symptoms

There are usually no warning signs that you have high blood pressure.  Some people report having a headache if their blood pressure is high or not being able to focus in everyday tasks.  For most people however, a diagnosis of high blood pressure often comes as a surprise.

That’s why it is important to get your blood pressure checked.

Diagnosis

The best and easiest way to find out how your blood pressure is going is to have it checked.  You can do it yourself at home but getting it checked by your GP (especially if it is too high or too low) is the best way of finding out what is happening. 

Remember however that depending on the time of day, your blood pressure might be higher than it normally is.  Some people find their blood pressure goes up just because a doctor or other health professional is taking it.  This is why regular monitoring of your blood pressure at home is helpful in getting a true picture of what is going on.  Using the GRIT Health Monitoring system is one way to track your blood pressure over time and have enough information available for your GP about how best to treat the problem.

Controlling high blood pressure

If your doctor has told you your blood pressure is high, ask what he or she suggests is the best course of action to manage it.  A number of strategies can be used to effectively manage high blood pressure.  These include:

  • Lifestyle changes

High blood pressure can be related to a family history, but it is also likely to be the result of some poor lifestyle choices.  A diet high in salt, simple carbohydrates or sugar is a recipe for high blood pressure in people who have that tendency. 

  • Medicine

Many people also need to take medication to manage their blood pressure.  Talk to your doctor and see what he/she suggests about which medication is best for your blood pressure.  Your GP should also take other lifestyle factors and previous medical history into account when prescribing a blood pressure medication.

Blood pressure medications alone do not treat high blood pressure, nor do they cure it.  All they do is manage your blood pressure to make sure it doesn’t get too high and cause other complications.

If you are prescribed blood pressure medications, then it is likely you will have to take them for the rest of your life although working with us as a member of the GRIT Health team is likely to reduce your dose and improve your overall health.

Manage your heart disease risk factors

GRIT Health may be of use

High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease.  Not controlling your blood pressure significantly increases your risk of developing heart disease.

Know your risk factors and how to manage them.  Having a good understanding of your health status is vital to managing your blood pressure.

Using the GRIT Health monitoring system is one way that you can have a full understanding of your health status and better manage your blood pressure. Our world leading monitoring platform, coupled with your personalised GRIT health plan put you front and centre in managing your blood pressure and any other health problems you are trying to manage.

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