Is your blood pressure secretly killing you? Survey reveals shocking number of people don’t realise they suffer from the condition

You might think that high blood pressure won’t affect you, but a recent study has revealed that 16 million UK citizens are suffering, and 5.5 million of those don’t even realise.

You might think that high blood pressure won’t affect you, but a recent study has revealed that 16 million UK citizens are suffering, and 5.5 million of those don’t even realise.

There’s a reason why it’s known as The Silent Killer, thanks to being largely symptomless.

In the midst of Blood Pressure Awareness week, which ran from September 9 – 15, new survey results from Kinetik Wellbeing and St John Ambulance have even revealed that 80 per cent of high blood pressure sufferers don’t take their medication as they feel fine.

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So what exactly is high blood pressure?

Firstly, it’s important to understand the numbers. The NHS explain that our blood pressure is recorded with two numbers; the systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which our heart pumps blood around the body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

Generally, an ideal blood pressure would sit between 90/60mmHG and 120/80mmHG.

However, high blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or higher. And those pressures between 120/80mmHg and 40/90mmHg could mean a greater risk of actually developing high blood pressure if nothing is done to reduce it.

Causes of high blood pressure can be attributed to smoking, too much alcohol, being overweight, a lack of exercise, stress, too much salt in the diet, older age, genetics and sleep apnea, while people in deprived areas are also more likely to have high blood pressure.

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The Kinetik-led research has revealed that 24% of women add extra salt to their food and more than one in five men drink above the NHS-recommenced health limit of 14 units a week.

James Grover, Head of Product Technology for Kinetik Wellbeing explains: “The research points to a lack of exercise and poor diet which can lead to high blood pressure which is on the increase in the UK.

“Unfortunately, only 11% of the respondents were aware that high blood pressure is symptomless and only 22% of the respondents measure their blood pressure once a year”.

Not too worried? High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease (causing over half of all strokes and heart attacks), kidney disease and vascular dementia. And, the number of people in the UK dying from heart and circulatory diseases before the age of 75 is actually rising.

The NHS advise those over 40 to get their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. Either book an appointment for your GP or even invest in a home blood pressure monitor. Some pharmacies and workplaces also offer free tests.