'Diagnosis was unexpected'

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In 2009 I had been signed off work due to hypertension. I wasn’t particularly stressed but my wife was concerned enough to get me to make an appointment with the Doctor.

As part of my hypertension my doctor suggested I had my blood pressure checked to make sure that it wasn’t above average and would cause any further problems. I underwent some tests that same appointment and was surprised when the results came back a few days later and showed I had high blood pressure.

As a relatively young, healthy, man my diagnosis was completely unexpected but in some ways I was relieved that it had been found out as the doctor later told me that high blood pressure is the UK’s biggest silent killer, responsible for 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease and dementia. What was more worrying though was that there is often no clear cause of high blood pressure and I might have never known I had the condition if I hadn’t been checked. As a dad of three young children this worried me the most and spurred me into action to change my lifestyle.

I started to exercise more to try and lose weight and also readdressed my diet and started opting for healthy foods, I also never really considered that I had too much salt, sugar and alcohol in my diet so started to cut back on this and in particular with salt and sugar not add any extra to my meal.

The doctor also prescribed me some medication which I now have to take every day but it is a small price to pay for my health.

My blood pressure is now back under control which is great news but I still have some way to go to keep motivated and continue with my weight loss.

I had never heard about the charity Blood Pressure UK until my diagnosis but now I have looked on their website and it’s full of tips and advice on how to keep my blood pressure in check and would recommend anyone who has been diagnosed to take a look as there are some simple steps you can do to prevent yourself from high blood pressure.

Andrew Winterbotham, 48, Gloucestershire

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