Blood Pressure (BP) is a measure of how powerfully blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. BP which is too high can put a strain on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of having a heart attack, stroke or kidney disease.
BP is reported as two figures measured in millimetres of Mercury (mmHg). The upper figure relates to systolic pressure when the heart beats and the lower figure relates to diastolic pressure when the heart relaxes to fill again. To give an example, if your BP is “120 over 80” it means that your systolic pressure is 120mmHg and your diastolic pressure is 80mmHg
What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension is when your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg
What are the risk factors?
Risk factors include
- being overweight
- having too much salt in your diet
- not eating enough fruit and vegetables
- not getting enough exercise
- being of Afro-Carribean ethnicity
You should also note that blood pressure also tends to increase as we age. There are a number of medicines and medical conditions which can also cause hypertension.
How do I know My Numbers?
The only way to know your BP is to get it checked. Often, hypertension has no symptoms in the early stages so make sure to get yours checked regularly. We offer a convenient free check here in the pharmacy. Simply drop by at a time that suits you and ask to speak to one of our pharmacists.
What treatments are available?
There are many treatments available. The treatment chosen will initially depend on your age and ethnicity. Sometimes your treatment might need to be adjusted to get better control and many people will be on a combination of drugs. At the moment, having hypertension means that you will be on lifelong medication. You should aim to eliminate or reduce the risk factors.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Measurement
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Measurement (ABPM) involves wearing a portable monitor for 24 hours. This checks your pressure every 30 minutes and provides important information about what happens your blood pressure throughout the day and at night. We provide a convenient ABPM service here at Fortune’s Pharmacy. We will provide you with a report on your blood pressure and also a copy for your GP or hospital doctor.
Home Blood Pressure Measurement
Some people monitor their BP at home. This can give important information to your health professional. Sometimes, getting your pressure measured in a clinical setting such as a pharmacy or GP surgery can cause it to rise. This is known as white coat hypertension. Taking your measurements at home can give a more accurate reading. We recommend using a clinically validated monitor such as the Lifesense A2 Monitor.
There is some really good information on the Irish Heart Foundation Website.