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 News Update 

The Silent Assassin

High blood pressure otherwise known as hypertension rarely shows up with any noticeable symptoms. But if left untreated can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Did you know that one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure although many are unaware, this is where hypertension when left unchecked can strike down a person in their prime, when ultimately it can be managed or eliminated from a persons life and increase life expectancy.

As an employer its one of the crucial things to have monitored especially if your employees work in high risk areas such as at heights, confined spaces or drive company vehicles or plant equipment. Follow the link to see what Safewells occupational health screening can do to help you as an employer manage your employees welfare.


What is High Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is recorded with two numbers, the systolic and diastolic. The systolic being the higher number, this is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. Then you have the diastolic being the lower number which is the resistance to the flow of blood in the blood vessels themselves.

These two numbers are both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg)

A general guide:

  • High blood pressure is considered to be around 140/90mmHg or higher
  • Ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
  • Low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or below

A blood pressure reading that is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if you don’t take steps to manage your lifestyle and keep your blood pressure under control.

What are the Risks of High Blood Pressure

Having high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. If your blood pressure is too high it can put extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, eyes and kidneys.

List of serious conditions.

  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attacks
  • Strokes
  • Heart Failure
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease
  • Aortic Aneurysms
  • kidney Disease
  • Vascular Dementia

If you do find out you have high blood pressure, just reducing it by even a small amount can help dramatically lower your risk of developing these conditions.

Reducing Your Blood Pressure

Making the following lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:

  • Reduce your salt intake and eat a balanced healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Cut down your alcohol intake
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight 
  • Take regular exercise (at least 20 minutes a day to raise your heart rate)
  • Reduce your caffeine intake
  • Quit smoking
  • Try to get seven or more hours sleep a night 

Sometimes even with all these adjustments to your lifestyle you may still help from one or more medicines to manage your blood pressure from getting too high.

When Did you Last Check your Blood Pressure

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.

All adults over 40 years of age are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. Its easy to do and there are a number of places to get this done…

  • Your GP surgery
  • Some pharmacies offer this service
  • As part of your NHS health check
  • In some workplaces

Alternatively you can check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.

Blood Pressure Medication

If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend that you take one or more medicines to keep it under control. They are usually required to be taken once daily, sometimes twice.

Common blood pressure medications include:

  • ACE inhibitors – such as Enalapril, Lisinopril, Perindopril and Ramipril
  • Angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARBs) – such as Candesartan, Irbesartan, Iosartan, Valsartan and Olmesartan
  • Calcium Channel Blockers – such as Amlodipine, Felodipine and Nifedipine or Diltiazem and Verapamil
  • Diuretics – such as Indapamide and Bendroflumethiazide 
  • Beta-Blockers – such as Atenolol and Bisoprolol
  • Aplpha-Blockers – such as Doxazosin
  • Renin inhibitors – such as Aliskiren
  • Other diuretics – such as Amiloride and Spironolactone

The medication recommended for you is dependent on factors such as your age and how high your blood pressure is.

What are the Causes of High Blood Pressure

What causes high blood pressure isn’t always clear, but there are certain things that can increase your risk.

You’re at an increased risk of high blood pressure if you::

  • are over the age of 65
  • are overweight or obese
  • are of African or Caribbean descent
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • eat too much salt and don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • don’t do enough exercise
  • drink to much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • have less than 7 hours of sleep a night or have disturbed sleep

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