High blood pressure has virtually no symptoms, and recent data indicates that in Australia 32% of men and 27% of women suffer from high blood pressure. This makes it more important than ever that you are checking your blood pressure regularly.
High blood pressure occurs when blood presses on the walls of your arteries as it is pumped around your body, with constant high levels leading to various diseases.
Blood pressure that is high over a long time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack or stroke. The medical name for high blood pressure over a long period of time is hypertension.
CAUSES OF HYPERTENSION
The exact causes of hypertension are often not clear and may be affected by factors such as:
- family history
- diet, including eating too much salt
- alcohol intake
- your level of physical activity
TIPS & ADVICE
Drink in Moderation: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and drinking too much consistently can put you at an increased risk of stroke. Limit your alcohol intake to two or fewer standard drinks per day.
Get Active: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
Quit smoking: Smoking increases the likelihood of your blood clotting which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Speak to your pharmacist about options available to help you quit.
Eat Well: Eat foods high in fibre and avoid adding salt to foods as too much salt can increase your blood pressure. Eat a variety of foods, including vegetables, wholegrains, lean meats, oily fish, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes. Replace saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats to keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
Look after your mental health: Emotional stress, anxiety and depression can increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Manage stress by meditating, building a strong support network, and visiting a mental health provider, if necessary.
Fortunately testing blood pressure is quick, painless and easy.
Health Check Procedure
Blood Pressure should be taken when you are at rest. Your Pharmacist will fit an adjustable cuff around your upper arm (roughly at heart level); the cuff will inflate and stop the blood flow through the artery. As the cuff deflates, blood begins to flow again, and the machine measures the vibration in the arterial wall (systolic pressure).
Diastolic pressure is measured when the blood flow is continuous and no longer creating a vibration against the arterial wall. Your Pharmacist will also ask you some questions relating to your lifestyle and blood pressure history. The process should take around 5 minutes.