More than 4.7 million Australians are living with high blood pressure, many unknowingly, with older Australians increasingly developing the condition. As we age, the rise in blood pressure is mostly connected with structural changes in the arteries, causing rigidness and stiffness.
The symptoms of high blood pressure (or hypertension) can easily go undetected, making diagnosis and treatment even harder. Having unmanaged blood pressure can cause some significant health issues to develop, including heart disease, kidney failure and strokes – a condition that affected one Aussie every 19 minutes in 2020.
To help you stay on top of your blood pressure reading, here are some of the early warning signs to watch out for, and ways to prevent it.
This is a question many Australians struggle to answer. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries, enabling our heart to pump it around the body. It’s recorded as two numbers, systolic pressure (higher number, the pressure when the heart contracts) and diastolic pressure (lower number, the pressure when the heart relaxes).
Normal blood pressure: ranges between 100/60 and 120/80, fluctuating according to your body position, emotional state, exercise and sleep.
High blood pressure: is when your blood pressure regularly reads over 140/90. This puts a strain on blood vessels all over the body, making your heart work much harder to maintain optimal circulation.
While there aren’t many major red flags that signal high blood pressure early on, you should keep an eye out for the following changes to your body, which may occur as a result of hypertension:
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to visit your local pharmacist or GP, who can assess you and conduct a blood-pressure evaluation as a critical first step towards management and treatment.
Early prevention is better than a cure, and by making some lifestyle changes you can prevent high blood pressure. A combination of lifestyle factors can help you normalise your blood pressure in the longer term, including:
It’s particularly important to have your blood pressure measured regularly because high blood pressure is asymptomatic unless it’s very severe, putting you at risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. This simple procedure could save your life and prevent the development of chronic illnesses over time. Blood pressure evaluations, which are available at Blooms The Chemist pharmacies around the country, are quick, easy and painless and an important first step to understanding how your heart is operating.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.