The sign in your breath that could signal your blood pressure is dangerously high

High blood pressure is prevalent in the UK – around a third of adults in the UK have it, although many will not realise it. That’s because the condition, which is characterised by an unsustainable force pushing against your artery walls – does not usually produce any visible signs. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked.

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

According to the NHS, the systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As the NHS explains, ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

However, if you have a systolic blood pressure reading higher than 180 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure higher than 120 mmHg, this is regarded as a “hypertensive emergency”, according to article published in the Annals of Translational Medicine.

The high reading is usually accompanied with “the presence of acute target organ damage”, the researchers warn.

As a result, you may experience a wave of unsettling symptoms, such as shortness of breath.

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Other symptoms may include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache, accompanied by confusion and blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Seizures
  • Unresponsiveness.

How to respond

If you experience a severe increase in your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention, advises Mayo Clinic.

“Treatment for hypertensive crisis may include hospitalisation for treatment with oral or intravenous medications,” says the health body.

In the longer term, treatment often involves implementing sweeping changes to your lifestyle.

Improving your diet offers a first line defence against high blood pressure and one of the most decisive actions you can take is to limit your salt intake.

The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure so cutting down is crucial to controlling blood pressure.

According to the NHS, you should aim to eat less than six grams (0.2oz) of salt a day, which is about a teaspoonful.

“Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre, such as wholegrain rice, bread and pasta, and plenty of fruit and vegetables also helps lower blood pressure,” says the health body.

Regular exercise can also reduce your blood pressure reading by boosting your heart health.

Mayo Clinic explains: “Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort.

“If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.”

According to UK public health guidelines, adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.

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