Let’s talk about blood pressure

Blood pressure is one of those hot health topics. Before having children though, it wasn’t something I knew a great deal about.

Prior to my pregnancies it wasn’t something that I recall ever having had checked – how about you? Was this something you did regularly before having children?

High or low?

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So what’s it all about anyway? Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. Have you ever wondered what it all means? The higher number is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The lower number is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Make sense?

High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mm Hg or higher. Do you know what yours is? If you want the latest information on blood pressure, Blood Pressure UK is a great resource.

What is high blood pressure and what’s the problem anyway?

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High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. You have hypertension if you have consistently high readings over a number of weeks.

Having high blood pressure increases the pressure on your heart and blood vessels over time and can lead to heart attack or stroke. You may also be at increased risk of dementia and kidney disease.

How you can reduce your blood pressure

Lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure you can start by decreasing your salt intake and increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables you consume.

You can also make sure you take regular exercise and keep alcohol to a minimum. All of these things can help to reduce your blood pressure to a more healthy level.

Adding garlic to your diet can also be benficial because garlic works to protect the blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

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Taking hot baths can also help to lower blood pressure. Whilst your temperature rises, your blood pressure actually drops as the hot water causes the blood vessels to dilate to try and cool off the body. Studies have shown this can be quite effective but consult with your doctor in advance as the hot bath will increase your heart rate.

If you think this might benefit an elderly relative but they don’t have a bath due to mobility issues, check out the range of walk-in baths available these days.

What is low blood pressure and what’s the problem anyway?

Low blood pressure is also known as hypotension. Low blood pressure is considered to be below 90/60mmHg, although only one of the numbers has to be lower than this to count as low blood pressure.

Some people naturally have low blood pressure and this is not generally a cause for concern. You may feel faint or dizy at times as a result of the low pressure. This can often happen if you stand up quickly, get up off the floor, out of bed, or even out of the bath.

If you are concerned then speak to your GP.

Other things you can try

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Other things you can try to lower your blood pressure include: reducing stress, reducing caffine and quiting smoking if you do smoke.

There is plenty of help out there and a ton of research. Take a look at The British Heart Foundation website and Blood Pressure UK as a starting point.

This is a paid partnership with Premier Care in Bathing.

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