What is high blood pressure?

  • High blood pressure is also known as hypertension.
  • When the heart is pumping blood around the body and into the blood vessels, it needs to squeeze and then relax.
  • When it is squeezing the blood around the body, the pressure is high.
  • When it is relaxing and filling back up again, the pressure is low.
  • For this reason, blood pressure is measured using two numbers. High blood pressure is when the high number is more than 140 and the low number is higher than 90 (written as 140/90). 
  • Because your blood pressure varies day to day, high blood pressure is diagnosed if you get a high reading on 3 separate occasions.
  • Your blood pressure is important because it affects how the blood flows through your organs. If your blood pressure it is too high it can damage your kidneys and also cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes and problems with your eyes. High blood pressure can be treated.

What causes high blood pressure?

For most people who have high blood pressure, the cause isn’t known. Some things do make it more likely that you will get it and most of them you can do something about, even if your blood pressure reading is high:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight 
  • Eating too much salt
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Having diabetes
  • Having too much cholesterol (a fatty substance) in your blood
  • Not moving your body very much.
  • Also if members of your family have a high blood pressure you might be more likely to have it too.

Tips for reducing and preventing high blood pressure

  • Eat less sugar, salt and fat.
  • Look for the ok sign on the buy-ups list
  • Tinned vegetables are a great alternative if you can’t get fresh ones.
  • Try adding things like rice, beans and tinned fish to your gaol food.
  • If you buy a treat, share it.
  • Swap food with lots of sugar and fat, for foods with less, like chips for popcorn. Look for the OK symbol on your Buy Ups list.
  • Make water your main drink and drink plenty of it.
  • Next time you go to see a nurse or doctor ask them to check your blood pressure.
  • And if you are 45 or older or over 30 if you are Aboriginal, get your heart health checked.
  • Talk to a nurse in the Health Centre.

Get moving

  • Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day is enough to improve your health and wellbeing, and you don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once, you can break it up through the day.
  • Getting moving in the yard can help everyone get motivated and make exercise more fun
  • Exercising or training with a buddy like your Cellie is a good way to help each other
  • If your emotions are up and down or you sometimes get stuck doing head miles, moving more can help
  • A daily routine is a good thing too. And don’t forget, walking is great exercise.