High blood pressure causes: When is carrying a little bit of extra weight a health risk?

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses blood pressure and dementia

Outward signs of high blood pressure are rare until the condition has reached a critical state. Many factors contribute to its development, including weight. What can you do to prolong your life? MedicAlert have linked “being overweight” with high blood pressure – do you fall into this category? This can be measured by the free NHS body mass index (BMI) tool where you input your height and weight.

A BMI between 18.4 and 25 is considered a “healthy weight range”, whereas anyone tipping the scales above 25 has moved into the overweight category.

“The best way to lose weight if you’re overweight is through a combination of diet and exercise,” said the NHS.

This could be the first step in making sure you bring down your risk of high blood pressure.

It’s important to note that the BMI can’t tell the difference between excess fat, muscle or bone.

Therefore, measuring your waist is also a good idea to keep track of your health.

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To measure your waist correctly, first find the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hips.

Then wrap a flexible tape measure around your body, between these two points.

Breathe out naturally before you take the measurement – and don’t be squeezing the tape measure into your skin.

Regardless if you have a healthy BMI, you’re advised by the national health service to lose weight if the following applies:

  • As a man, you’re measuring 37inches (94cm) or more
  • As a woman, you’re measuring 31.5 inches (80cm) or more

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The NHS says you’re at very high risk and should contact a GP if your waist is:

  • 102cm (40ins) or more for men;
  • 88cm (34ins) or more for women.

Another cause of high blood pressure, as noted by MedicAlert, is the lack of exercise.

However, if you exercise often you’re rewarded by two benefits: a healthy weight and less health risks.

Other factors that contribute to high blood pressure include:

  • Smoking
  • Poor diet
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Too much alcohol
  • Too much caffeine
  • Too much salt

Thankfully, all of these are modifiable factors, meaning you have the power to eradicate these risk profiles.

If you choose not to, you’re putting yourself in danger of strokes, vascular dementia, kidney disease and heart attacks.

The warning signs of high blood pressure are: blurred vision, chest pain, dizziness, headaches, nosebleeds, and shortness of breath.

The most effective way to know if you’re blood pressure is too high is to have it measured.

Blood pressure can be measured at certain pharmacies, GP centres and some work places offer the service too.

A sphygmomanometer – the instrument used to measure blood pressure – is available to buy online.

Also known as a blood pressure test, most commercial instruments are electronic.

The process involves placing a straw around your arm and pressing a button.

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