Bood pres­sure checks es­sen­tial

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY -

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.

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