What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is something that we all have. It is a measure of the amount of work your heart must do to push your blood around your body. Most people have normal blood pressure, but some have low and some have high blood pressure.
Average Blood pressure readings are around 120/80 mmHg. The top number, 120, systolic pressure, is a record of your blood pressure at its highest, as your heart muscles push the blood out of the heart to move around the body. Then as your heart relaxes, between beats, the blood flows back into your heart and this is a record of the bottom number, 80, diastolic pressure.
Generally high blood pressure (sometimes called hypertension) is 140/90mmHg or higher and low pressure (hypotension) is 90/60mmHg or lower. High blood pressure can affect people of all ages, and often it does not show symptoms.
According to the Irish Heart Foundation in Ireland over half of all adults in Ireland over 45 years of age have high blood pressure. About 4 in every 5 men and 2 in every 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated. If it is not treated or kept under control it is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke and can lead to kidney failure or poor circulation to your legs.
What causes High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure can be caused by different factors and often there is no single cause. Some of the factors that may put you at risk of having high blood pressure are:
- Having a high intake of alcohol
- Having a high intake of salt (sodium)
- Easting a lot of processed foods
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables
- Not being physically active
- Being overweight (having a BMI of 25 or more)
- Having a family history of high blood pressure
What are the signs of High Blood Pressure?
Often there are no signs or symptoms of high blood pressure and this is why it is important to check it with your pharmacist or doctor. If you are over 30 you should be having a blood pressure check every five years and more often if it is high.
How do I check my Blood Pressure?
If you are concerned about your blood pressure or like many, simply have no idea how your blood pressure is you can pop into any of our pharmacies where a trained member of our team will check your blood pressure for you free of charge in our private consultation room. It is a very quick and pain free test where we place a cuff around your upper arm which tightens gently and takes the reading. We will then let you know if your blood pressure is within the normal ranges and advise you and what to do if it is not.
If you have had your blood pressure taken in the pharmacy or doctor’s surgery and it has been high you may be advised to have a 24-hour monitor fitted which is another service that we can provide and is detailed lower down in this blog post.
How to have a Healthy Blood Pressure?
To maintain a healthy blood pressure reading or to work on lowering your blood pressure it is important to:
- Know what level your blood pressure is at.
- If it is high consult with pharmacist or doctor for further advice.
- Aim for a weight that is in the healthy range
- Eat a balanced diet with less salt and more fruit and vegetables
- Drink less alcohol
- Don’t smoke or quit smoking
- Be more physically active for 30 minutes per day at least 5 days a week.
If lifestyle management of blood pressure is not enough to get it to a normal level it may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe blood pressure medication in the form of a tablet to lower it.
What is 24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring?
24-hour blood pressure monitoring is one of many pharmacy services available here at Meaghers Pharmacy. 24 Hour Blood Pressure Monitoring is a method for looking at how your blood pressure reads throughout a 24-hour period. Having many readings throughout the day gives us a more accurate picture of how your blood pressure is.
A small machine measures your blood pressure at regular intervals throughout your normal day to day activities. In doing this you can get a clearer picture of how your blood pressure changes throughout the day, rather than the usual single method of measuring of blood pressure, which only shows one point in the day. By monitoring it all day you can work out if it is consistently or intermittently high, giving a more accurate picture for you and your healthcare providers.
There are several reasons that you may benefit from 24-hour blood pressure monitoring of which some are listed below:
- You have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and your doctor, or yourself, want to check how lifestyle changes or medication are helping to lower your blood pressure back towards normal.
- You suffer from ‘white coat hypertension’ which means that when you are at the doctor’s surgery or pharmacy getting your blood pressure measured you get an abnormally high reading as you are nervous or stressed.
- Your doctor may want to monitor and check your blood pressure at night as this gives a higher risk for heart disease.
- You have conditions that affect your heart, such as high cholesterol or diabetes.
How does the monitoring system work?
- Prior to receiving the service, the pharmacist will explain in detail how it works.
- The pharmacist will fit you with a small, lightweight monitor to wear on a belt around your waist, which is connected to a cuff on your arm.
- You will wear this for 24 hours, even while you sleep.
- At certain intervals throughout the day the cuff inflates and measures your blood pressure.
- You will be advised to continue your day as normal, so that a true reflection of the 24 hours can be obtained.
- When you return to the pharmacy following the 24-hour period the pharmacist will explain your results and offer lifestyle advice to help lower your blood pressure or maintain it at a healthy level.
- You will also receive a report which you can bring to your doctors.
How much does this service cost?
If you wish to inquire about the service further or are unsure if you should receive the monitoring service you can avail of a free consultation with one of our pharmacy team, who will advise you of the best direction to follow.
If you chose to uptake the 24-hour monitoring service, the cost is €60 which covers appointment to fit the monitor and follow up 24 hours later with full discussion on results and further advice.
Where can I receive this service?
This service is available from Meaghers Pharmacy, 10 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4. Please click here for contact details to discuss it with a member of the team.
Online booking of this service is available here.
Our team is always here to help in any way we can. If you have any questions about health or blood pressure please contact any of our stores to discuss this with one of our expert pharmacists or contact our helpline on 01 4853098 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.