Blood pressure is a health term we regularly hear about, but do we know what it really means and why should we be aware of it?
Healthy blood pressure is key to maintaining a healthy heart. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, over half of adults over 50 years of age in Ireland have high blood pressure, which can lead to heart related illnesses such as Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD), heart attacks and strokes.
So what is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the amount of pressure against the walls of your blood vessels. It happens when your heart pumps blood containing the oxygen supply through these vessels and around the organs of the body. Often, people with health issues can suffer with high blood pressure or low blood pressure – high blood pressure being the most common condition.
How do I know if I have a healthy blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured by a simple, pain free test which takes just a few minutes. Blood pressure can be checked by your GP or your local Allcare Pharmacist, who will place a cuff on your upper arm and pump air throughout the cuff. The measurement is then taken as the air is released. A person with high blood pressure may feel well so it is recommended to check blood pressure regularly.
Blood pressure can vary due to age, emotion and activity, so do not be alarmed if you receive one high blood pressure reading. You may just need your blood pressure rechecked again by your GP.
Who is at risk of high blood pressure?
You may be at risk if:
• You are over the age of 40
• You are overweight (a BMI of 25 or higher)
• You have a family history of high blood pressure
• You have a diet high in salt and/or low in fresh fruit and vegetables
• You have a high alcohol intake
• You do not take 30 minutes of physical activity daily
How can your Allcare Pharmacist help if you have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can be successfully reduced with medication. Our pharmacist is here to advise you on how to get maximum benefit from your treatment and help reduce your blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of CVD. We also have lots of other services to keep you in control of your blood pressure.
Lifestyle Changes: Our pharmacist can assess your lifestyle and recommend any changes that can help improve your cholesterol and general health.
Weight Management: Ensuring you maintain a healthy BMI will reduce your risk of developing many diseases, including CVD. Our pharmacists can check your BMI and suggests ways to keep it within a healthy range.
Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and our pharmacists can help you do this.
Medicines Review: We can provide you with a review of your medicines to help you take the right doses at the right time and discuss any possible side effects.
Winter Flu Vaccine: You may be at risk of developing the flu. Ask our pharmacist if the vaccine is recommended for you.
Repeat Prescription: We can have your prescriptions ready in advance so you can save time when collecting your prescriptions.
Sometimes medication may be prescribed by your doctor to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, it is important to take this medication once prescribed.
Visit your local Allcare Pharmacy for more information about blood pressure or have your blood pressure checked in store by an Allcare Pharmacist.