by ABC Health & Wellbeing
There’s no way of telling from the outside if you have high blood pressure.
You can feel perfectly well and yet the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries can be high enough to be slowly causing damage that increases your risk of heart disease, strokes and kidney failure.
That’s why you’re encouraged to get your doctor to regularly check your blood pressure at age 45 (or earlier if you have other risk factors like diabetes, smoking, overweight or a family history of early heart disease or kidney disease).
After the initial check, it’s a good idea to get your GP to take your blood pressure every year.
But there are also some known key factors that increase your risk:
For many people, the most significant contributor to high blood pressure is age. Our arteries stiffen with age. This means the same volume of blood is forced into a smaller area and so your blood pressure may rise, sometimes dramatically.
To imagine the strain this puts on your heart, think of the pressure you need when you blow up a round balloon compared to how much you need to blow up one of those long skinny balloons used to make balloon animals.
Sixty per cent of people aged 60 or older have high blood pressure. But age doesn’t have to be a factor.