Enough pressure is needed in the arteries for blood to travel from the heart to the different parts of the body. High blood pressure is when the force of the blood flowing through the blood vessels is persistently too high. It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate, therefore high blood pressure is only diagnosed when it remains high on several occasions or when it is dangerously high on one occasion.
There are various physical and lifestyle factors that can make you more likely to develop high blood pressure. Being aware of your risk factors will help you to identify the changes you can make to lower your risk. Some of these risk factors include:
High blood pressure causes damage to the blood vessels, including the blood vessels inside some of the organs such as the eyes, the kidneys and the brain. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. The increased workload can also weaken the heart and lead to heart failure. Tiredness, shortness of breath and swollen ankles are often experienced. Blood pressure medication should always be taken exactly as prescribed and should not be stopped or changed unless advised to do so by a medical doctor.
Making small lifestyle changes can make steady improvements in blood pressure. Together, these changes can make a big difference!