High blood pressure: the silent killer

imageHigh blood pressure is often called the silent killer. This is because one in five adults have high blood pressure (hypertension) yet most don’t know it. Is is certainly the case from my experience. As part of an initial fitness test when you come to Ryding2Health for personal training, we also take your blood pressure. In recent weeks we have had to refer at least two clients to their doctor because of high readings, something they would never have known about had they not come to us,maps most personal trainers don’t include a BP check in fitness tests.

Unfortunately there are usually no warning signs to alert you to the fact that you have high blood pressure, so the only way to find out is by having it measured by a doctors, nurse or health professional. By lowering your blood pressure you can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What is blood pressure? 

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard your heart has to work to pump blood around your body. A blood pressure reading gives two numbers. For example 130/80. The top number (130) is the systolic pressure, the peak pressure in your arteries when you heart beats. The bottom number (80) is the diastolic pressure, the pressure in your arteries while your heart rests between beats. BOTH NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT.

An ideal blood pressure for most adults is less than 130/80. Many things affect your blood pressure. It is normal for it to increase during exercise, when you’re excited, angry or afraid. These are short lived, however long periods of high blood pressure at rest are a cause for concern.

What causes high blood pressure?

In most people, it’s impossible to pinpoint a cause. It can run in families. Occasionally kidney or glandular diseases may be responsible. There are a number of risk factors linked to high blood pressure. These include

  • Age (the occurrence of high blood pressure rises as people get older)
  • Gender (men are more likely to get higher blood pressure than women)
  • Family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Excess salt in the diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Diabetes

Why is it important to control high blood pressure?

Normal blood pressure delivers an effective blood supply to all parts of the bodywiout damaging sensitive organs. High blood pressure means your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. This can cause permanent damage to delicate organs such as the eyes, kidneys and brain, as well as increasing your risk of developing heart disease and a stroke.

How can I lower my blood pressure?

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern
  • Lower salt intake
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Moderate physical activity for at least 30 mins daily
  • If you smoke, seek help to stop
  • Restrict acohol intake

What examples are there to prove this works?

We KNOW that exercise and good diet works because firstly,  we have a proven track record that we are good at helping clients lose weight. Have a look at our success board the next time you’re in the studio, or have a look on our Facebook page.

We have had several clients who have come to us with high blood pressure, (some also medicated) and high cholesterol report to us that after following our exercise and nutrition support programmes their readings have returned to normal, in some cases medication has even been withdrawn.

Our clients tell us that very few other personal trainers locally do a blood pressure test as part as an initial fitness assessment. So, if your doesn’t, make sure you ask for one.

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