Experts have warned that more than five million people are considered ticking time bombs, as they are walking around with high blood pressure, but they have no idea they suffer with it.

Do you know your blood pressure number?

Do you know your blood pressure number?

High blood pressure is considered the nation's biggest 'silent killer' as there are no obvious signs or symptoms.

The condition is one of the most common causes of premature death and disability as it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, heart failure or even kidney failure.

"High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke, heart attack and heart disease which can give rise to premature deaths and preventable disabilities," says Dr John Coltart, Medical Director at Life Line Screening. "Every four minutes, someone in the UK suffers from a stroke or heart attack where high blood pressure has been shown to be the key cause each year."

Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of charity Blood Pressure UK, told the Mail Online: 'There are over five million people walking around like a ticking time bomb, unaware they are at risk of a stroke or heart attack due to their blood pressure.'

And whilst Public Health England have revealed how many aren't aware of their high blood pressure, in England 7.6 million patients have been diagnosed with hypertension and many are taking drugs to control it.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said: 'It produces no symptoms until it causes a heart attack or a stroke, yet it is easily detectable and easily treated.

'Despite this, there are millions walking around with this ticking time bomb, unaware that they are at increased risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.

'It is simply unacceptable that so many avoidable heart attacks and strokes are occurring when the solution is so simple.'

High blood pressure affects more than one in four adults and accounts for 12% of visits to GPs in England, with latest Public Health England figures putting the annual cost from diseases it causes at an estimated £2.1 billion.

Reducing the blood pressure of the country as a whole could save £850million in health and social care costs over ten years, it said.

Professor Huon Gray, national clinical director for heart disease for NHS England, said getting the nation's blood pressure levels into the normal range could prevent more than half of strokes and many heart attacks.

Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and well-being at PHE, said: 'Too many people are dying prematurely from preventable conditions and high blood pressure plays a big part in this.

'It is vital for partners to come together - from local government, to the Health Service and charities, we all have a role to play.'

Rick Shakes-Brathwaite, a Cardiac Physiologist based at Highgate Private Hospital, is issuing the following advice for local people worried about their blood pressure:

"High blood pressure is a common condition where the force of your blood against your artery walls is high enough to cause health problems, such as heart disease or stroke.

"It is important to control your blood pressure because high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems. The sorts of complications I see in my clinics due to uncontrolled blood pressure include hardened or thickened arteries which can lead to stroke or heart attack, thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes which can lead to vision loss, and thickened heart muscle which can lead to heart failure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can also affect your ability to think, remember and learn.

"I would recommend anyone who is worried about their blood pressure to seek advice from a health professional. You should ask your GP or nurse for a blood pressure reading every two years. A normal blood pressure reading is generally below 130/80mm Hg. Once you know that you have high blood pressure, your doctor can advise you on how to control it."

Blood Pressure UK's 'Top five tips for a healthy blood pressure':

1. Cut down on salt -

Reducing your salt intake it the quickest way to lower your blood pressure. Don't add it when cooking or at the table and check food labels - aim to eat less than 6g a day.

2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables -

 At least five different portions every day.

3. Watch your weight -

Try to reach the right weight for your height.

4. Exercise regularly -

That doesn't have to mean the gym, how about a regular lunchtime walk? 30 minutes five times a week is ideal. If you are unsure about taking up exercise, ask your GP.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation -

No more than 3-4 units a day for men and no more than 2-3 units for women (a pint of normal strength beer = 2 units, a medium glass of wine = 2 units).

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