Know your numbers is Blood Pressure UK’s flagship campaign promoting blood pressure testing and awareness. This week encourages adults to know their blood pressure numbers and take the necessary action to reach and maintain healthy levels. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses, which is why this campaign is so important.
What does blood pressure mean?
When you have your blood pressure measured, you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.
Systolic blood pressure: This is the first, or top number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
Diastolic blood pressure: The second, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and you’d call it ‘120 over 80’.
90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg: Normal blood pressure. If you get a reading in this range, your blood pressure is healthy!
For those that need to, you can measure your blood pressure at home which reduces any increase in blood pressure from stress around being at the doctor’s and helps every keep socially distant. If your doctor has recommended you do this you can read Blood Pressure UK’s guide on measuring at home.
What can you do if you have high blood pressure?
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure you should take advice from your doctor. You can also consider improving your overall health and wellbeing by:
- Eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetable daily (more if you can)
- Swapping to whole grain carbohydrates rather than white for bread, cereal, rice, pasta
- Using herbs, sodium-free or low salt spices or flavourings in your food instead of salt
- Buying foods labelled “no salt added,” “sodium-free,” “low sodium” or “very low sodium”
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Getting in 30 mins of activity daily
- Choosing healthy fats and oils such as olive oil, but reduce overall intake
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