We talk blood pressure on Radio 4’s Inside Health

We join an expert discussion of the major topics in high blood pressure right now



We join an expert discussion of the major topics in high blood pressure right now

This January, our CEO Katharine Jenner and Trustee Professor Bryan Williams joined a panel of health professionals and blood pressure experts on Radio 4’s popular show, Inside Health. With so much to talk about, host Dr Mark Porter dedicated the entire show to the topic.

The panel touched on all the pressing debates and confusions around blood pressure, including the different targets around the world, finding the right medicines, and which lifestyle changes really work. 

Clearing up the confusion on blood pressure numbers  

Our Trustee Professor Bryan Williams is a Consultant Physician and Chair of Medicine at University College London and is recognized as a world-leading authority on high blood pressure. He cleared up some of the confusion surrounding the ideal numbers, explaining that it’s a linear relationship between blood pressure numbers and health problems – we define high blood pressure as 140/90mmHg in the UK because that’s the point at which treatment is known to be affective, but in the US it’s been lowered to 130/80mmHg to encourage a healthy lifestyle and prevent hypertension from developing. 

Taking a look at salt and blood pressure 

Our CEO and public health nutritionist Katharine Jenner explained the positive impact of eating less salt, as well as taking on more potassium from fruit and veg.

Radio 4’s Dr Margaret McCartney expressed doubts around the strength of the evidence supporting eating less salt to prevent heart attacks and stroke. A thought-provoking view but one we can’t support given the huge amount of research showing salt raises blood pressure, and raised blood pressure, when untreated or poorly treated, is the single biggest cause of early death worldwide. 

Food for thought 

There was much food for thought, with discussions on how home monitoring can give a better idea of blood pressure than measurements in clinic, why blood pressure goes up with age, and why we need to know all our numbers – like minutes of exercise per week, as well as our blood pressure numbers.

While we wait to see what NICE decide about ideal blood pressure numbers as they update their guidance this year, and experts around the world continue to explore the causes and treatments of high blood pressure, this discussion is well worth a listen.

Listen to the show on Radio 4 or read the transcript below