Looking after your Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries. The higher your blood pressure the greater your risk of developing narrowed arteries and the greater your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

When you have your blood pressure checked it is written down as two numbers. The top number, which is called the systolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart is forcing blood through. The bottom number called the diastolic pressure, shows the pressure of blood in your arteries when your heart relaxes.

An ideal blood pressure is 120/70 but everyone has a different blood pressure and it can change in the same person during the day and the night. If you have a blood pressure that is consistently more than 140/90 you have a high blood pressure.

Whether you have high blood pressure or a normal blood pressure it is important to realize the higher it is, the higher you risk of heart disease or stroke. This means that all of us should be adopting a lifestyle that will help us to lower our blood pressure whether we have high blood pressure or not.

For all of us leading a healthy lifestyle means:

  • Taking regular exercise
  • Eating a diet low in fat and salt and high in fruit and vegetables
  • Being the right weight for your height
  • Drinking sensibly
  • Not smoking

If you lead a healthy lifestyle your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is very small.

For further information visit the Blood Pressure UK's website www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou