What is blood pressure?
Your blood pressure varies throughout the day, due to your circadian rhythm (the body’s daily hormonal cycle), your activity levels, what you’ve eaten, stress, tiredness, hydration, etc. Your body chooses when and where to increase pressure in your arteries as required. Blood pressure testing is a normal part of any check-up, measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). It is a simple and effective way of monitoring the pressure with which your blood is being pumped through your arteries. It’s recommended that all adults over 40 years of age have their blood pressure tested at least every 5 years, so any potential problems can be detected early.
What are the types of blood pressure?
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure (140/90mm Hg or higher) puts more strain on your arteries as they lose their elasticity and they become hard and narrow. This narrowing makes atheroma (fatty cholesterol) easier to build up which can lead to risks of heart attacks and strokes. It can also be the cause of smaller blood vessels in different parts of the body. High blood pressure can also cause damage to vital organs as the high-pressure impacts soft tissue
Hypotension, or low blood pressure (90/60mm Hg or lower), is less severe than high blood pressure with very few symptoms, but it can still put your body at risk of dizziness, sickness, weakness and fainting.
What can I do to lower my blood pressure?
If your blood pressure reading is between 120/80mm Hg and 140/90mm Hg, then you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. If this is detected, you will be asked to monitor your blood pressure regularly and you may be asked to have blood tests to determine if there is any damage to your kidneys or liver.
To help lower your blood pressure:
- Decrease levels of salt consumption, and increase intake of fruit, vegetables, fish and white meat
- Exercise well and regularly; you are recommended to do upwards of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week
- Cut down or attempt to stop smoking as smoking narrows the arteries restricting blood flow
- Reduce or stop alcohol intake entirely as this also has an effect on blood flow
If you’re due a blood pressure check-up, please drop into one of our local pharmacies today.
Are you at risk of high blood pressure?
Every Adult is at risk of high blood pressure. It is common for people not to experience any symptoms even with high blood pressure, so a checkup is the only way to find out if there is a problem.
However, there are some groups of people who are at a much higher risk of high blood pressure. These groups include:
- People over the age of 60
- Those with a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease
- Those who are overweight and/or physically inactive
- Those of Asian or African-Caribbean descent
- People who regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day
- People whose diet includes a large amount of salt
- Those who do not regularly eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
How long will the blood pressure test take?
Blood pressure tests usually only take a maximum of 15 minutes to complete, but our pharmacy teams will be available for any questions you may have during the check-up