Symptoms of ‘silent killer’ high blood pressure including subtle eyesight change

Health experts have outlined the signs of high blood pressure that often remain hidden.

More than one in four adults in the UK have the condition but have no idea about it, as the condition rarely has noticeable symptoms. It is recommended that healthy adults over 40 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.

However, if you are at risk of high blood pressure, you should check it more often – ideally once a year. This condition, also known as hypertension, is described as a silent killer as it usually has no obvious symptoms.

But for those who do experience symptoms, developing a blurred vision could be a sign of high blood pressure. Other symptoms include nosebleeds, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and headaches, explains the British Heart Foundation (BHF). You can get your blood pressure checked at GP surgeries, some pharmacies and some workplaces too, reports the Mirror.

High blood pressure can increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. The BHF has shared some tips to reduce your blood pressure, including doing some moderate intensity physical activity every day, building up to at least 150 minutes per week.

You should also try and keep a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet low in salt and high in good nutrients, especially those found in fruit and vegetables. If you drink alcohol, you should stick within the recommended limits – no more than 3–4 units a day for men and no more than 2–3 for women. And if the doctor prescribes any medicine, you should ensure you take it as prescribed.

A new study has now found that people who get married to someone with high blood pressure are also likely to suffer from the condition. Researchers found that almost half, 47%, of couples in the UK both have hypertension with cases here and in the US higher than in other parts of the world that were included in the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Many people know that high blood pressure is common in middle-aged and older adults, yet we were surprised to find that among many older couples, both husband and wife had high blood pressure in the US, England, China and India,” said senior author Chihua Li. It is the first study of its kind and the reason for the likelihood of a couple both having the condition appears to be down to them developing the same habits and the fact it is more difficult to live a healthy lifestyle if your partner does not.

The NHS says: “If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions.”

These conditions include heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney disease and vascular dementia. “If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions,” says the NHS. More information is available here.

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