Knowing whether you have high blood pressure means you’ll be able to get help to reduce your blood pressure and avoid some potentially life-threatening or life-altering illnesses.
Regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure, NHS.co.uk has the following tips to help reduce or prevent it:
Six ways to help prevent high blood pressure
1. Healthy diet
Cut down on the amount of salt in your food and eat a diet that includes lots of fibre, such as whole grains and pulses, and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
2. Limit your alcohol intake
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
Find out how many units are in your favourite drink .
Alcohol is also high in calories, which will make you gain weight and can further increase your blood pressure.
3. Lose weight
Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure. If you do need to lose some weight, it's worth remembering that just losing a few pounds will make a big difference to your blood pressure and overall health.
4. Get active
Being active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
Regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which will also help lower your blood pressure.
Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week. Physical activity can include anything from sport to walking and gardening.
5. Cut down on caffeine
Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day may increase your blood pressure.
If you drink a lot of coffee, tea or other caffeine-rich drinks, such as cola and some energy drinks, consider cutting down.
6. Get a good night's sleep
Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with a rise in blood pressure and an increased risk of hypertension.
It's a good idea to try to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night. Read some tips for getting to sleep if you struggle to nod off.
While smoking doesn’t directly cause high blood pressure, it puts you at much higher risk of a heart attack and stroke.
Smoking, like high blood pressure, will cause your arteries to narrow. If you smoke and have high blood pressure, your arteries will narrow much more quickly, and your risk of heart or lung disease in the future is dramatically increased.