Blood Pressure Monitor

Blood Pressure

Keep your blood pressure down

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a risk factor for stroke, so it’s a good idea to have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. It doesn’t take long and can be done by your GP or practice nurse, at many local pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Blood pressure has a high value and a low value, because pressure at one point in the blood varies during the course of each heartbeat. Ideally, the higher number (diastolic blood pressure) should be below 140, and the lower number (systolic blood pressure) below 90. Having one blood pressure reading that’s above these levels may not be important, because blood pressure changes from day to day. High blood pressure (hypertension) is diagnosed when the figures are high (140/90 or higher) several times in a row.

A number of simple changes to diet and lifestyle can help reduce high blood pressure. These are:

  • Eating less salt (including less salt from processed foods)
  • Taking more physical activity
  • Keeping your weight under control
  • Limiting alcohol consumption to moderate levels

Reducing your blood pressure will also reduce your risk of other serious conditions, such as a heart attack or kidney disease. Your doctor may recommend blood pressure medicines as well as lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure to below 140/90. The medicines used to treat blood pressure have improved. You and your doctor will probably be able to find a medicine (or often a combination of medicines) that have minimal side effects that do not interfere with your everyday life.

Halt the salt

Recommended daily intake of salt per adult is 6 grams, 1-6g for children
Salt often appears as sodium on food labels 6g of salt is equivalent to 2.5g of sodium.
Usually products will say how much sodium they contain on the label – so make sure you check before you buy.

A lot or little per 100g?

A Lot – 1.25gs of salt 0.5 sodium or more
A Little – 0.25gs of salt 0.1g of sodium

Cut down on foods that are high in salt such as savoury snacks and crisps, bought soup, ketchup, pickles, smoked meats and sausages, stock cubes, ready made meals and takeaway foods. When buying tinned vegetables and fish, opt for those in water rather than those in brine.
If you do however buy food in brine the added salt content of processed foods can be significantly reduced by rinsing them in running water. A study revealed that canned green beans rinsed for one minute lost 41% of their sodium content. The same treatment removed 76% of the salt added to canned tuna. But it’s better to avoid the salt if possible.
Start reading the labels to check the salt content.

How can you halt the salt at home ?

If you can’t cut salt straight away in cooking try gradually cutting down on the amount you add – try using garlic, herbs and spices instead – you’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to having less and soon you won’t need it at all.

Don’t put the salt cellar on the table.

Try making your own pasta sauces, make in batches and store in the freezer for a speedy meal.
Look for new recipes that are full of flavour and look enticing – again make larger amounts and freeze so you don’t need fast food.

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Your daily bread

Three servings of wholegrain cereals a day -such as whole wheat bread, cereal or pasta, rye bread, brown rice, oats and barley:

Can Almost Halve the Risk of Stroke

Many people don’t realise that staples like breakfast cereals, margarine and cheese have a high salt content, Bread is the single largest source of salt in our diet. Six average slices of bread contain around 3 g of salt half the recommended daily intake but as part of a good balanced diet whole grain bread is good for you.

Why not make Your Own Bread and Look for Salt Free Cereal

Read the Blood Pressure Association’s guidance on getting your blood pressure under control.

Go To: Blood Pressure Association

The British Hypertension Society’s have a guide to healthy eating wall chart, for a copy please telephone: 01255 815 916 (and pin it up in your kitchen!)

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a low-fat diet and reducing salt (sodium) intake can reduce your blood pressure significantly without the need for medical treatment. Your risk of developing stroke, heart disease and dementia will be lower.

Eating more fruit, vegetables and grains (such as rice and pasta) will help reduce your salt and fat intake, because you will eat fewer high-salt, high-fat foods.

Some foods contain a lot of ‘hidden’ salt that you might not realise is there. These include processed foods such as biscuits, cakes and some breakfast cereals. Try to keep these foods, and salty snacks such as crisps and nuts, for special occasions, not as an everyday snack.

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