High Blood Pressure and the heart

We hear about high blood pressure a lot, not many people understand exactly what it is. We know it’s a ‘bad thing’ & needs to be treated.

High blood pressure is essentially means that the blood in the arteries of your body (these carry blood/fuel/oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body) is at a higher pressure than it should be.

Blood pressure goes up if we have extremes of emotion (angry, stressed, ecstatic) & normally varies from one minute to the next depending on what we are thinking feeling or doing. Most people are not ‘aware’ that they have high blood pressure & it is only picked up on routine checking by a health professional or as part of a routine assessment for something else.

Check your blood pressure with Consultant Cardiologist Dr Gill

So, if we’re not aware of having high blood pressure, why is it so important & why do doctors & nurses become so concerned? Simply because it is one of these conditions people are unaware of. Over a period of time (many months/years) having a persistently high blood pressure results in damage to just about every organ in the body.

It puts you at higher risk of having a stroke & hence damaging the brain. It damages the eyes, leading to blindness, puts you at higher risk of having a heart attack, damages, the liver, spleen & kidneys. The big issue is, once the damage is done it’s irreversible – which is why we try & detect & treat it as early as possible.

Once high blood pressure is detected, we start treating it while at the same time as looking for possible causes such as hormone problems (over active thyroid) & kidney problems. High blood pressure can also be caused by high caffeine, salt or alcohol intake, as well as lack of exercise & being obese.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm/Hg) and is given as 2 numbers. The top number should be below 140 & the bottom number below 90. If you already have heart problems or are a diabetic, we prefer the readings lower still.

How do we treat blood pressure?

There are a number of drugs that are available to treat high blood pressure. Most people will require more than one to get the readings within an acceptable range. Other treatments are being developed but are still undergoing further research to ensure they work in the way we would like them to.

If you have concerns about your blood pressure or would like further input & advice, please get in contact to arrange an appointment.