High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, according to the NHS.
Symptoms can be difficult to detect because they don’t always show and can be mistaken for less serious conditions.
If high blood pressure is left untreated it can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and vascular dementia.
But new research has revealed the current lifestyle habits of the UK population will bring a high blood pressure epidemic and increased incidences of these health complications.
The survey of 2,000 respondents by Kinetik Wellbeing, was conducted to support activity in Superdrug during Blood Pressure Awareness Month and has revealed some alarming statistics and warning signs for the future.
The research found:
- 26 per cent of people never get eight hours sleep a night
- 14 per cent of people drink six or seven nights a week
- 13 per cent admit to eating foods excessively high in either salt or fat six or more times a week
- 15 per cent never eat five a day
- 27 per cent of people don’t exercise
All these risks directly link to high blood pressure, which can be a key cause of heart attacks and strokes across all age groups.
Growing ignorance to what high blood pressure looks like also means much of the nations is not aware of the danger they are in.
Only 40 per cent of millennials could determine what a healthy blood pressure reading was, compared to 48 per cent of 35-44 year olds, 57 per cent of 45-54 year olds, and 62 per cent of those aged 55+.
Dr Pixie McKenna, Superdrug’s Health ambassador, said; “Lack of exercise, stress, excess alcohol consumption, excess weight and excess salt in the diet are some of the lifestyle issues which can cause blood pressure to climb.
“Unfortunately, you won’t know how high your blood pressure is until you check it because more often than not it doesn’t give rise to symptoms. All adults should be actively checking their blood pressure, this simple check could prove lifesaving.”
James Grover, Head of Product Technology at Kinetik Wellbeing said “It’s estimated that 16 million people have high blood pressure, of which seven million people are unaware that they have it.
“High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, because unless you test for it you don’t know you have a serious condition until you need medical intervention. “
He continued: “The US has recently changed its bands for high/pre-high blood pressure numbers – a change that could come to the UK and would mean that many more people will be diagnosed with the condition.
“Taking your blood pressure at home is really quick and easy, only takes 2 minutes. Most importantly could help you identify a serious health condition.”
Michael Henry, Superdrug’s Healthcare Director, added: “Our partnership with Kinetik Wellbeing enables us to raise further awareness of the free blood pressure checks available in all our 200 pharmacies all year round.
“Our trained pharmacists and nurses want to continue to educate people about potential risk factors of high and pre-high blood pressure and how you can make small changes that will positively impact your life.”
The symptoms of high blood pressure to watch out for, according to Bupa, are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart palpitations
- Nose bleeds
- Stomach pain
- Blurred vision
In serious cases, a person with high blood pressure may experience a hypertensive crisis, which is a severe increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke.