What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls gets too high and the heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body.
Normal blood pressure is generally 120/80 mmHg or less. Hypertension is classed as having a blood pressure 140/90 mmHg or over. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Most people are usually not aware of having high blood pressure so it is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
Risk factors for high blood pressure
A person is at risk of developing high blood pressure if they have any of the following risk factors:
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Low level of physical activity
- Certain dietary patterns eg. high salt diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption
High blood pressure symptoms
There are usually no symptoms of high blood pressure, which is why it is important to have regular check-ups with your GP.
Diet for high blood pressure
Depending on how high your blood pressure is, and if you have any other medical conditions, your doctor may either suggest simply making lifestyle changes or they may prescribe you medication to help lower your blood pressure.
Is there a special diet for high blood pressure? There are foods that lower blood pressure but you don’t need to follow a set diet. Making simple dietary changes can help to lower your blood pressure, even if you are also taking medication.
- Reduce the amount of salt in your diet
- Reduce the amount of the less healthy fats in your diet
- East plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Include low-fat dairy foods in your diet
- Include moderate amounts of mono and poly unsaturated (healthy) fats in your diet
- Limit alcohol consumption
Accredited Practising Dietitians are qualified to assist people in managing medically-diagnosed nutrition conditions. For information about booking a nutrition consultation with an Allied Nutrition dietitian, please click HERE or phone us to discuss your requirements.