Doctor measuring blood pressure with sphygmomanometer

Reasons it is important to manage your high blood pressure

Posted on: 6/09/2021

Known as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. There are 9.5 million people with a diagnosis in the UK, and for every 10 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, another seven don’t know they have it. As high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, having it measured is the only way to tell if your blood pressure is high.

High blood pressure has been shown to damage the tiny blood vessels in the parts of your brain responsible for cognition and memory, greatly increasing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. High blood pressure is also responsible for more than half of all strokes and heart attacks, as well as a risk factor for heart disease and kidney disease.

Here are some facts about blood pressure:

  • In the UK, high blood pressure is the third biggest risk factor for all disease after smoking and poor diet
  • Around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure. In England, 31% of men and 26% of women have high blood pressure
  • Half of people with high blood pressure are not diagnosed or receiving treatment. In England alone, there are more than five million people that are undiagnosed
  • High blood pressure costs the NHS over £2.1 billion every year
  • Someone with high blood pressure that is well controlled reduces their risk of stroke and heart disease to almost that of a person who does not have high blood pressure
  • Reducing the average systolic blood pressure of the nation by just 5mmHg over 10 years would save £850million of NHS and Social Care spend
  • High blood pressure accounts for 12% of all GP appointments in England

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is very important because the higher your blood pressure is, the higher your chances of having health issues are. All of your body's important organs, such as your brain and heart, receive nutrients and oxygen through your blood flow. Therefore, it is important to control your hypertension and here’s how you can start making some simple changes:

  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Reducing sodium in your diet
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Quitting smoking
  • Cutting back on caffeine
  • Reducing your stress
  • Monitoring your blood pressure at home regularly

If you make some small changes to help maintain a healthy blood pressure your will also improve your overall heart health, decrease your risk of a stroke, help to protect your kidneys and help improve your quality of life for now and the future.

To find out if you have high blood pressure or how to manage it, consult your GP first. If it’s necessary, your primary GP will refer you to a cardiologist for additional care.