Normal blood pressure as measured in a young person would typically give a reading of 120/80 mm. Hg and can vary minute by minute depending on activity. It will be lowered by lying down or asleep and can be increased when under stress or taking part in exercise. High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is a common condition affecting approximately 1 in 5 people, and causes medical concern as if left untreated it can lead to Strokes, Heart Failure and Kidney Failure. What is considered too high a reading is dependent on the patients’ age as allowances can be made for changes that occur naturally with age. However a reading of above 95 as the lower figure instead of 80 is considered necessary for investigation or monitoring.
Hypertension can be symptomless therefore regular check-ups over the age of 50 should be advised. In 9 out of 10 people there is no underlying cause, but lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, high alcohol intake, stress and in some women the oral contraceptive, are recognised contributory factors.
Treatment is usually one or a combination of drugs, plus a change in lifestyle if necessary. Reduction in Salt intake, decrease in consumption of saturated (Animal Fats) fats and generally fatty foods, lowering of alcohol consumption, are all useful in reducing the blood pressure as is increasing exercise levels and positive forms of relaxation.
Low blood pressure whilst often troublesome i.e. fainting and dizziness, is not normally considered dangerous, but may be a sign of some underlying problem so it is always sensible to see your G.P if it persists.
Further Details can be obtained from the British Heart Foundation 0207 935 0185
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