Stroke in younger people is rising

The health charity Blood Pressure UK is urging more people to have their blood pressure checked, as an increasing number are having strokes at a younger age.

Ignoring health warnings – particularly about poor diet and eating too much salt – is leading more people to develop high blood pressure, the charity claims.

And that can put them at risk of having an early stroke. Indeed, unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet are contributing to more people in their 30s, 40s and 50s being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

And despite an overall drop in the number of strokes among all ages, figures suggest the proportion of strokes in working age people has increased, Blood Pressure UK experts say.

“High blood pressure does not discriminate on age,” says Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK. “People are dying unnecessarily because they fail to take simple steps to reduce their blood pressure. Everyone is at risk and therefore it’s essential to know your blood pressure numbers.”

Healthy blood pressure tips

The key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight an not taking enough exercise, claim Blood Pressure UK experts. So here are the charity’s top five tips for a healthy blood pressure:

  1. Cut down on salt Reducing your salt intake it the quickest way to lower your blood pressure. Don’t add it when cooking or at the table, avoid using stock cubes, gravy and soy sauce, check food labels and avoid processed foods high in salt – aim to eat less than 6g a day.
  2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables Have at least five different portions every day.
  3. Watch your weight Try to reach the right weight for your height.
  4. Exercise regularly This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym – instead, how about a regular lunchtime walk? Thirty minutes five times a week is ideal. If you are unsure about taking up exercise – or if you have an existing medical condition or you haven’t done much physical activity lately – speak to your GP.
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation The recommended amount is up to 14 units a week for both men and women (a glass of wine or a pint of beer is two to three units).

Meanwhile, here are some of the facts about blood pressure from Blood Pressure UK that you should know:

  • High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you have the condition is to have a blood pressure check.
  • Untreated high blood pressure is the major risk factor for strokes, heart attacks and heart failure. It is also a major risk factor for kidney disease and dementia.
  • A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less.
  • A blood pressure of 121/81mmHg to 139/89mmHg is on the high side and lifestyle changes such as eating less salt, more fruit and veg and losing weight if necessary should be advised.
  • If readings are consistently at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed, and action should be taken to lower it by leading a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.

Your local Careway pharmacist can give you lots of advice about keeping your blood pressure within healthy limits. Many Careway pharmacies also offer convenient blood pressure testing, often without the need for an appointment. Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

Know Your Numbers! Week runs from September 18 – 24, 2017. Find out more by visiting the campaign’s website.