First things first, what actually is high blood pressure – and what is normal blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of your blood inside your arteries, and when the force is too high, it can weaken your heart and damage your arteries. This can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney disease.
Blood pressure is recorded using two numbers; both of which are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). The systolic pressure is the higher number, and this represents the force that your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure is the lower number, and this represents the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Normal blood pressure can vary from 90/60 to 120/80, and if your blood pressure is high (140/90 or more) for more than a few weeks, your doctor will probably diagnose you with high blood pressure and may recommend that you take medication. The easiest way to measure your blood pressure is to book an appointment at a pharmacy – you can find your local one on the NHS website.
You could also consider buying your own blood pressure monitor, so you can keep an eye on it at home. Just make sure it’s approved for use in the UK. The British and Irish Hypertension Society has a list of validated blood pressure monitors for home use, which you can find here.
As well as taking medication, there are lots of things you can do to help lower blood pressure naturally – and more good news is that these steps will likely boost your overall health and fitness, too.