Fortunately, there are a number of things which can help lower your blood pressure. There will not always be an explanation for high blood pressure, though most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition. As many as five million adults in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so will not know that they are at risk, according to the British Heart Foundation.
The NHS says: “Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.”
A key part of this is living an active lifestyle and exercising regularly.
There is also “a simple trick to lower your blood pressure”, according to Nuffield Health, and Head of Preventative Medicine, Dr Ben Kelly.
Nonetheless, the healthcare website notes that this trick is not designed to replace regular exercise and a healthy diet.
The organisation advises sourcing an isometric handgrip device, which you then squeeze and hold repeatedly.
“Do literally nothing else,” says Dr Kelly. He adds: “The device was developed in the 1970s to help US fighter pilots temporarily boost their blood pressure to avoid passing out at high G-forces.
“But using it over sustained periods actually dropped the pressure levels of the fighter pilots with high blood pressure.”
The doctor caveats his advice, stating your blood pressure will be temporarily boosted when contracting the handgrip device, which can be dangerous if your blood pressure is very high or you also have high cholesterol.
Though this “takes next to no effort” the “key is not to overdo it” as it does come with risks.
The British Heart Foundation states many people with high blood pressure feel fine, “so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly”.
The charity says physical activity can help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory disease and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.
The NHS has also outlined some other lifestyle changes which can help prevent and lower high blood pressure.
It says you should reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet, cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine, and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking.
Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take medicines.
If you are over the age of 40, the NHS says you should be getting it checked every five years.
Blood pressure is defined as the force put on your blood vessels and organs as blood is pumped around your body by your heart.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure, higher number, is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure, lower number, is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control,” says the NHS.