Get to know your blood pressure
Raised blood pressure is the number one cause of pain and disability in Greater Manchester. It can increase your risk of experiencing a serious health problem like a heart attack, stroke or dementia. Knowing your blood pressure is the first step to doing something about it.
You can get your blood pressure checked for free in many places, including your General Practice and local community Pharmacy. #KnowYourNumbers
Top tips for healthy blood pressure
Maintaining a healthy weight can help bring down high blood pressure.
You can download a free NHS weight loss planning app to help you start healthier eating habits, be more active and start losing weight.
Aim for an average of 150 minutes of exercise a week or 75 minutes of strenuous exercise or a mixture of both. For the exercise to be worthwhile, you ideally need to feel warmer, breathe harder, and your heart needs to beat faster than it normally does.
Try these tools, tips and special offers to move more every day.
You may be able to find more information about the leisure services on offer in your local community via the GM Active website.
Eating a healthy balanced diet will help. Eat vegetables raw or lightly steamed, rather than boiled, to get maximum nutrition. Avoid frying where possible.
Find out more about how to get your 5 a day via the NHS Eatwell Guide – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/
If you are struggling with the cost of living crisis there are many foodbanks, food projects and community cafes across Greater Manchester to help keep you and your family fit and healthy. Click here to find the local services in your area.
Reduce your intake of salt. Don’t forget a lot of salt is hidden in processed foods and is very high in most breads, cereals, soups and sauces. If possible, always read the label. Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as bread, pasta, rice and wholegrains has also been found to help reduce blood pressure.
Read the NHS advice for a lower salt diet – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-eat-a-balanced-diet/tips-for-a-lower-salt-diet/
Always check the label on foods where possible and be especially wary of hydrogenated or ‘trans’ fats, as well as sugars ‘hidden’ as other names such as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, and glucose. These can be commonly found in items such as fruit juices and fizzy drinks.
The NHS Eat Well Guide can help you achieve a healthy balanced diet. Visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/
Your arteries clog up even faster if you smoke and this causes many other health problems. Your blood pressure rises while you smoke.
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you’ll ever do! Get free, personalised support here: https://makesmokinghistory.co.uk/how-to-quit/local-services/
Remember caffeine is found in some fizzy drinks as well as in coffee and tea.
The NHS has advice on how to choose healthier drinks – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/
Stick to local daily recommendations – usually less than 2 drinks for men and 1 for women (1 drink = small beer or wine).
- men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
- spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
- if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week
For the latest NHS advice on alcohol visit: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-advice/
Get medical advice before you stop drinking if you have physical withdrawal symptoms (like shaking, sweating or feeling anxious until you have your first drink of the day).
Have your blood pressure measured by a trained medical professional regularly. You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- your local GP surgery
- some pharmacies
- some workplaces
Stress contributes to raising blood pressure. So, avoid stress where possible and allow time for relaxation.
For more information on how to help manage stress visit: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/stress/
Did you know you can buy a blood pressure monitor for as little as £15 from your local pharmacy? We know not everyone may be able to afford this however you may still be able to loan a monitor from your General Practice. If you can, having a blood pressure monitor at home will make it easier to know what your blood pressure is and monitor how it changes over time.
You can ask a health professional to show you how to monitor your blood pressure at home and make it even easier to stay on top of your health.
If you have been prescribed medication to control your blood pressure it is very important to take it as prescribed. Don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your GP first.
It can sometimes be easy to forget to take your medication, however there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to help you remember, like keeping your night time medicines by your toothbrush or setting up reminders on your phone or at home.
If you are looking for more information about the medicine you have been prescribed, click here to visit the British Heart Foundation.
More information and resources
There are lots of resources out there to help you understand what blood pressure is, the causes of high blood pressure and things you can do to improve it if necessary.
Click here to visit the British Heart Foundation resources.
Click here to visit the Blood Pressure UK resources.
May Measurement Month is a global blood pressure screening awareness campaign, launched in 2017 by the International Society of Hypertension. They are on a mission to educate people on the importance of checking their blood pressure regularly, because raised blood pressure is the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.