Bood pressure checks essential
When you think of blood pressure, think of water in a hosepipe. A certain amount of pressure is required to get water from a hosepipe so in the same way it’s important for us to have blood pressure so that blood can be circulated around our body.
However if our blood pressure becomes too high, then serious health problems can occur. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, increases the risk of heart disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and diseases affecting the small arteries in your kidneys and eyes.
Usually you will feel no symptoms until continued high blood pressure causes damage. This is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Blood pressure should be measured at least once a year if you are over 40 years of age, or more often if you already have high blood pressure.
There is no such thing as one "normal" blood pressure measurement, but there is a range which is considered desirable. When the doctor measures your blood pressure two readings will be obtained. If the lower of these two readings (the diastolic pressure) is greater than 90, then treatment may be recommended. The upper reading (systolic pressure) is usually over 100, but varies and usually increases with age.
If you easily become breathless, have blurred vision, or if your ankles or fingers are swollen, or you get frequent nosebleeds, see your doctor. Any of these could be warning signs for high blood pressure.
Certain things make you more likely to develop high blood pressure, such as having a family history of high blood pressure, being overweight, doing very little exercise, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.
Smoking doubles the risk of heart attacks by increasing your blood pressure.
Unfortunately high blood pressure can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. For all of us this means a healthy lifestyle and for some it also means taking medicines.
Effective medicines are available which will help to control your blood pressure. These medicines have to be taken every day at regular times to be most effective.
Your doctor can discuss with you whether you need medicines for high blood pressure and which medicine will be best for you.
If you would like more information on high blood pressure, talk to your Self Care pharmacist and ask for a fact card on High Blood Pressure.
For good healthy advice talk to your local Self Care pharmacist.