By Your Call Publishing | ,

Castle Medical Centre - April-July 23

Follow Your Blood Pressure

One of the commonest clinical conditions among our patients is a silent disease called high blood pressure, clinically called hypertension. It means pressure in the arteries of the body is very high, the arteries being the pipework of the body, often clogged by fats, a condition called atherosclerosis or thickened arteries due to age related changes.

The high pressure causes back pressure on the heart which works like a small pump and reduces blood flow in all the organs, including brain, eyes, heart, nerves and kidneys, causing serious damage.

Imagining your foot set tightly on your garden hosepipe is a good analogy. The forward flow of water is restricted and there is back pressure on the water tap.

Persistent high blood pressure which is untreated leads to damage to the heart causing chest pains, palpitations, breathlessness due to the heart failing as a pump, strokes due to blood flow limited to brain, reduced kidney function, vascular dementia and many more other diseases.

Unfortunately, high blood pressure is fairly common, more so after the age of 60. Almost a quarter of our population has high blood pressure but sadly only half of them are diagnosed and treated. The common risk factors for developing high blood pressure is often familial, age related and affects men more than women but there are many modifiable factors that contributes to high blood pressure including lack of physical exercise, increased body weight, excessive alcohol intake, unhealthy diets, smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes. Sometimes kidney disease and pregnancy can cause high blood pressure. Persistent stress is also known to cause high blood pressure.

There are no classical symptoms of high blood pressure. Headaches, nose bleeds, dizziness and palpitations are some of the symptoms patients report when they have had high blood pressure for a long time.

Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, top and bottom. The top number, called systolic pressure, is the force of blood in the arteries when your heart beats. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The bottom number, called diastolic pressure, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. This is always lower than the top number. Ideally blood pressure should be between 120/80 to 140/90.

Pressure over 140/90 is considered high and needs medication and life style measures to bring it down.

One of the easiest ways to check and prevent high blood pressure is a simple BP check at the practice, chemist or even at home. This should be done by everyone over the age of 40 years and every year to help with early diagnosis and prevention of complications.

High blood pressure is easy to diagnose and easy to treat with lifestyle changes and medications. Please get your blood pressure checked at the surgery to make sure you do not have this common disease which is called a silent killer.

Dr Suparna Behura
Partner and Trainer – Castle Medical Centre

Monday-Friday – 8.00am-6.30pm
Tel – 01926 857331
Facebook – @CastleMedKenilworth
Twitter – @Castle_Med
22 Bertie Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1JP