Blood Pressure or BP is something everyone has. It is a way of measuring how hard your heart has to work to pump blood around your body. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension), if not treated, can be a major risk factor for developing heart disease or having a stroke. Just like the plumbing system in a house, you need enough pressure for the blood to get to where it needs to get in the body, but not enough that it can cause damage.
Blood pressure is usually reported in units known as millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Two values are reported – the systolic pressure where the heart muscle squeezes out blood and the diastolic pressure where the heart relaxes to fill with blood.
A typical normal reading for someone will be around 120/80. This means that the systolic pressure is 120mmHg and the diastolic pressure is 80mmHg.
Hypertension often has no symptoms and the only way to know what yours is, is to have it measured.
A small number of people suffer from low blood pressure which is also known as hypotension (readings less than 100/60). This is usually nothing to worry about unless it causes dizziness or fainting.
Blood Pressure Checks
Fortune’s Pharmacy offers you a free and easy BP check on a drop-in basis. We typically will take up to three measurements over a few minutes. Our pharmacist will explain what your blood pressure reading means and can advise you on any follow-up requirements such as a visit to your GP or availing of our 24-hour monitoring service. It is important to remember that high readings don’t necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Certain things can cause the pressure to rise such as exercise or caffeine intake.
24-Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring
24-hour blood pressure monitoring provides a more accurate measurement than a single reading. It shows how your blood pressure changes throughout the day and, most importantly, what happens at night. Ideally your pressure drops at night – this is known as dipping. In some people, dipping doesn’t happen and in other people, their pressure actually goes up. The 24-hour monitor can show what your dipping pattern is. It is also important in identifying “white coat hypertension.” White coat hypertension occurs in some people. The act of getting their blood pressure measured can cause anxiety and this can cause the blood pressure to rise.
Fortune’s Pharmacy offers a convenient 24-hour monitoring service with our healthcare partners, Dabl. Our pharmacist will fit you with a monitor which you wear continuously for 24 hours. The monitor automatically takes a reading every 30 minutes. You return to the pharmacy the following day to have the monitor removed and your readings are downloaded from the monitor. A report is produced giving a picture of your blood pressure over the 24 hours. You will be provided with a copy of the report to bring with you to your doctor. If you are availing of a repeat report we can also provide you with a trend report to show how your blood pressure has changed over time. This service is provided on an appointment basis. Please contact us today to avail of it.
Our pharmacists will be delighted to advise you on home monitoring where you have your own monitoring device. These monitors are available to purchase from our online store. We only recommend devices which measure at the upper arm and which have been validated by the relevant professional bodies.
Reducing your Blood Pressure
Our pharmacist can advise on positive changes you can make which can benefit your blood pressure. These include –
- aiming for and maintaining a healthy weight.
- eating less salt (if you are on medicines do not use lo salt either)
- eating more fruit and vegetables.
- drinking less alcohol.
- being more active
- taking your medicines (if these have been prescribed).
Blood Pressure Medicines
There are a wide range of blood pressure medicines which work in different ways. Sometimes a patient will be on more than one medicine for this condition. Our pharmacist will be able to advise you on all aspects of your medicine including any do’s and don’t’s.