One in three adults in the UK have high blood pressure and even though the problem is so common, it’s dangerous. If you don’t realise you have high blood pressure and therefore don’t treat the problem, you could potentially develop a life-threatening illness that kills you. Not to worry though, in most cases you can reduce your blood pressure quickly and safely. But, how do you know if you have high blood pressure in the first place? Express.co.uk reveals the feeling in your head that could be a sign of hypertension.
If your blood pressure is too high, your blood vessels, heart, brains, kidneys and eyes are under extra strain, and you increase your risk of life-threatening health conditions.
When you have high blood pressure, your arteries tighten up and restrict the blood flow throughout your body.
This means your heart has to work harder to pump blood and the pressure can cause the hardening of arteries, an enlarged heart or even damage to your major organs.
This is the case for a third of Brits, but many more will have high blood pressure without realising it.
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The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
You can do this at home with a blood pressure monitor, or get your blood pressure tested at your GP surgery, some pharmacies, some workplaces and as part of your NHS Health Check.
Frustratingly, about 90 to 95 percent of all high blood pressure cases are caused by primary or essential hypertension.
This means the cause is not known, but a number of factors might contribute, and a lot of the time changing your habits and actions could solve the issue.
The Texas Heart Institute explained that you’re at increased risk if you:
- Have a family history of high blood pressure.
- Are African American. African Americans develop high blood pressure more often, and it tends to happen earlier in life and be more severe.
- Are a man, but women are at an increased risk after age 55.
- Are older than 60. Blood vessels become more brittle with age and are not as flexible.
- Face high levels of stress. In some studies, stress, anger, hostility, and other personality traits have been shown to lead to high blood pressure.
- Are overweight or obese.
- Use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels.
- Use oral contraceptives. Women who smoke and use oral contraceptives greatly increase their risk.
- Eat a diet high in saturated fat.
- Eat a diet high in salt (sodium).
- Drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol. Experts said that moderate intake is an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. One drink is defined as 1½ fluid ounces (fl oz) of 80-proof spirits, 1 fl oz of 100-proof spirits, 4 fl oz of wine, or 12 fl oz of beer.
- Are physically inactive.
- Have diabetes.
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High blood pressure symptoms
Most of the time, people with high blood pressure will have no symptoms alerting them to the dangerous condition at all.
However, you might have a specific feeling in your head that could signal hypertension.
According to the Texas Heart Institute, in some cases, people with high blood pressure may have a pounding feeling in their head or chest, a feeling of lightheadedness or dizziness, or other signs.
The site added: “Without symptoms, people with high blood pressure may go years without knowing they have the condition.”
Whether you are experiencing these symptoms or not, it’s important to regularly check your blood pressure.
If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, you can monitor your condition more easily.
The NHS recommended measuring your blood pressure twice a day if you are concerned; once in the morning and again in the evening (both times while sitting down).
Take two readings one minute apart and continue to measure your blood pressure twice a day for seven days.
Then, give this information to your doctor or nurse so they can work out your average blood pressure and tell you how healthy it is.
Your medical professional can then advise you about lifestyle changes or medicine, if needs be.