Approximately one third of all Australians are affected by high blood pressure – for every one person on treatment, one is untreated and possibly one is undiagnosed with hypertension.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body.
You can have high blood pressure and feel perfectly well. The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is by having it checked regularly.
How can I measure it?
Blood pressure is usually measured by wrapping an inflatable pressure bag around the upper arm. The bag is connected to a pressure-measuring device. Your doctor or Aboriginal health worker can do this.
Why is it bad?
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and dementia.
How do people get it?
High blood pressure is more likely to develop among people who are overweight or physically inactive, or have high dietary salt intakes. Smokers and people with diabetes and high blood cholesterol are also at risk.
What can I do?
If you have high blood pressure, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make to help you control it. These include:
- quit smoking;
- reduce your salt intake;
- lose weight if you’re overweight; and
- exercise regularly.
For more information, go to www.heartfoundation.org.au or telephone 1300 36 27 87.