Cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and vascular disease) account for up to a third of all deaths in Britain and, although these conditions have always been common as we get older, more and more younger people are affected.
What is striking is that up to half of the 150,000 deaths each year in the UK from cardiovascular disease are preventable. Arguably the most important risk factor for cardiovascular disease is high blood pressure – one in three of us in Scotland have high blood pressure and are not aware of it as we have no symptoms.
High blood pressure, or hypertension to give it its medical name, is a serious condition that can affect anyone. If your blood pressure is too high for too long it significantly increases your risk of not only a stroke and heart attack but also makes other conditions such as kidney problems and dementia more likely.
The only way that we know we have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
What causes high blood pressure?
There are a number of factors that can increase your risk of having high blood pressure, for example if you are overweight or obese, smoke, eat too much salt, have a relative with high blood pressure, don’t do enough exercise and even drinking too much coffee can raise your blood pressure due to the caffeine.
There are also some medical conditions that can raise your blood pressure, for example kidney problems and thyroid conditions, so getting a check up is important in determining the reason and cause.
What can I do?
There are lifestyle changes that you can make to try and lower your blood pressure. For example, losing weight, exercising for 20 minutes three times a week, cutting down on the amount of caffeine you drink, stop smoking and reducing your salt intake. A recent study suggested that eating an orange or drinking two glasses of orange juice each day led to significant reduction in blood pressure.
Lack of sleep can also affect your blood pressure so trying to get at least six hours of sleep a night will help. If these steps don’t work then your GP may need to prescribe you some tablets to help lower and control it.
How can we help?
Getting your blood pressure checked only takes a couple of minutes and could be a lifesaver, but time is always in short supply in everyone’s busy lifestyles. At TAC Healthcare Group we understand this and offer free blood pressure and cholesterol checks with no wait – so just pop in to our clinic in Cults and one of our nurses will check yours for you.
High blood pressure can also increase the risk of an aortic aneurysm because it can damage and weaken the wall of the aorta. In Scotland men over 65 are able to access an aortic scan on the NHS but, unfortunately, women do not get scans offered routinely. We can offer some aortic scans to both men and women – scans take about 20 minutes and again is a walk-in, walk-out procedure.
TAC Healthcare Group has a specialist cardiac assessment unit and team including nurses, dieticians and cardiologists able to offer a full range of cardiovascular assessments from a simple blood pressure check to more complex assessments including exercise testing, blood tests and cardiac scanning. As a local independent clinic, not affiliated to any big corporate organisations, our pricing in extremely competitive and – even better – there are really no waiting times.