What is hypertension and how does it affect blood pressure?


Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is incredibly common - around one in three adults has it. It becomes more common with age, due in part to the physical changes that occur with aging but also largely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices. These include a diet high in salty processed foods, being overweight, alcohol consumption, and lack of activity.

Blood pressure is the force with which blood pushes against the blood vessel walls as it flows around the body. When blood pressure becomes too high, it puts extra strain on the heart and blood vessels, and is a major cause of cardiovascular disease.

Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and is affected by stress, physical exertion, caffeine, eating, and various other factors. Blood pressure can be raised due to both modifiable lifestyle factors and some factors we have no control over, such as age and genetics. Making long-term, sustained changes are important for our health and means hypertension is often preventable. Visit your local Alphega Pharmacy for a check-up and a conversation about what healthier changes you could make. Find your nearest Alphega Pharmacy here

Blood pressure

What are the two types of hypertension?

Primary (essential) hypertension is by far the most common type of hypertension. It’s when there is no one single cause that can be identified and is more likely to be the result of a number of factors, including lifestyle factors such as diet, and our age and ethnic background. The mechanisms by which blood pressure rises are different for different people, but the risk factors are well established.

Secondary hypertension is where blood pressure is raised due to an underlying health condition. When that condition is treated, blood pressure should return to normal. Some of these causes are uncommon, so can remain undiagnosed. Others are well known, such as chronic kidney disease (CKD).

What signs should I look out for?

Hypertension is usually asymptomatic, so you might not know if you have it unless it is detected with a blood pressure check. Occasionally, severe hypertension can cause signs or symptoms such as headaches, blood shot eyes, damaged retina, or feeling unwell.

Your Alphega Pharmacy team are there to help anyone who may be unaware that they have hypertension by offering advice on blood pressure testing. If you’re worried, why not talk to them today about how to get your blood pressure checked, as well as get helpful advice on a healthier lifestyle. If you already know you suffer from hypertension, they can give advice and support on how to get it under control. Blood pressure readings can be used alongside other tests to give an idea of the risk of cardiovascular disease, including a cholesterol levels and Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist measurements.