High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce reading
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High blood pressure can be fatal if left untreated. This is why it is so important to not only get regular blood pressure readings but also be aware of any signs and symptoms which may indicate the condition.
While there are many symptoms of hypertension people may be aware of, such as heart palpitations or dizzy spells, two NHS doctors explained some key changes to patients’ eyes that people may not realise are associated with blood pressure.
What eye changes could be linked with high blood pressure?
Speaking to Express.co.uk, NHS GP Dr Gary Bartlett said: “If patients do experience symptoms, symptoms are often vague.
“Patients may report headaches and possible blurred vision.”
NHS GP Dr Rachel Ward added: “Occasionally people experience dizzy (spells) and feel lethargic and we may see symptoms such as burst blood vessels in the eye.”
High blood pressure can damage the “tiny, delicate blood vessels behind the eyes” Dr Bartlett explained.
He pointed out that this can cause “damage to your retina”, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
Dr Bartlett continued: “This can lead to bleeding in the eye which causes blurred vision and in some cases complete loss of vision.
“Your optician can detect the early signs of high blood pressure and diabetes just from looking in the back of your eye.
“It is important that you see your optician regularly.”
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What other high blood pressure symptoms should people look out for?
Dr Bartlett explained: “Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood around the body.
“High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a disease in which blood flows through your blood vessels at a higher than normal pressure.”
One of the greatest problems of blood pressure is that it often has no symptoms at all.
This is why it is commonly known as “the silent killer”, according to Dr Bartlett.
Dr Ward said: “Most people will not have any warning signs that their blood pressure is high.”
Some of the most commonly reported symptoms from patients include dizziness, a pounding feeling in the chest or head, difficulty breathing, headaches and in some cases, nosebleeds.
Some of the key factors which can lead to high blood pressure include age, being overweight or obese, family history of hypertension and a sedimentary lifestyle.
How can you manage high blood pressure?
According to Dr Bartlett, hypertension treatment starts with “lifestyle changes”.
These include “weight loss if overweight, increasing your daily exercise, making sure that you get a proper nights sleep, decreasing salt in your diet, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake and decreasing stress levels”.
Dr Ward pointed out: “For some people, this can be enough to bring your blood pressure to a normal level and avoid medication.”
However, in some cases, there are additional measures that need to be explored in order to bring blood pressure down to a healthy level.
Dr Bartlett advised: “Medications are sometimes needed to lower blood pressure.
“When you turn 40 years old, you will be invited for an NHS health check by your GP practice.
“It’s designed to spot early signs of kidney disease, heart disease, type two diabetes or dementia. Many of these conditions rarely present initially without any symptoms!
“As we get older, we have a higher risk of developing one of these conditions. An NHS Health Check can help find ways to lower this risk.
“I encourage all patients to take up the NHS health check.”
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