Blood pressure is the ‘force’ that moves blood through the arteries once it has been pumped from the heart. The blood pressure is high when the heart is pumping blood into the arteries, and the pressure is lower when the heart is relaxed. Blood pressure changes to meet your body’s needs and does varies from day to day, even moment to moment. It is affected by various factors, including body position, breathing pattern, emotional state, exercise and sleep.
How is blood pressure recorded
The blood pressure is a measurement taken of the highest reading (systolic) and the lowest reading (diastolic). It is given as 2 figures — highest over lowest or systolic over diastolic. Blood pressure is measured in ‘mmHg’, which refers to millimetres of mercury.
Most doctors believe that blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are within the normal range. Stick with heart-healthy life habits like eating a balanced diet and getting regular exerciseIf your blood pressure readings fall into this category.
Diagnosis of high blood pressure
Given the blood pressure normally varies during the day and may increase during a doctor visit (known as white coat hypertension), your doctor may check your blood pressure readings multiple times at three or more separate appointments before diagnosing you with high blood pressure.
Your doctor may also ask you to record your blood pressure at home to confirm if you have high blood pressure.
Home monitoring of blood pressure is another important way to confirm if you have high blood pressure, to check if your blood pressure treatment is working or to diagnose worsening high blood pressure.
Regular blood pressure checks
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range and you have no other risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, and no personal or family history of hypertension, it is still recommended to have a check at least every two years. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure during your routine visits.
If your blood pressure is ‘high–normal’ (or higher – for example 140/95), or if you have other risk factors for the cardiovascular diseases, such as a personal or family history of high blood pressure, heart attack, angina, strokeor TIA, it is best to have your blood pressure checked more frequently – such as every 6 to 12 months or as directed by your doctor. Ask your doctor at Shire Doctors and Dentists for advice.
High blood pressure can be treated through lifestyle changes and medications. Patients with high blood pressure, regardless of whether they’re on medication, should follow the lifestyle recommendations. Your doctor may recommend that you make some lifestyle changes including:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet with less sugar and salt
- Doing regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you’re overweight or obese
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink
Sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. If regular exercise and healthy diet don’t help you, your doctor may prescribe antihypertensive medication to lower your blood pressure.
The type of medication your doctor prescribes to treat high blood pressure depends on your average blood pressure and overall health condition. Two or more blood pressure drugs often work better than one medication. Sometimes finding the most effective medication or combination of drugs is a matter of trial and error.
A blood pressure reading higher than 180/120 mmHg is an emergency that requires urgent medical attention. If you get this result when you take your blood pressure at home, wait five minutes and take your blood pressure again. If your blood pressure is still this high, contact your doctor immediately. If you have chest pain,headache, visual disturbances, numbness or weakness, breathing difficulty, or any other signs and symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, call 000 or present to your nearest emergency department.
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Get Your Heart Health Check in the Shire Today
It is estimated a heart health check can help prevent approximately 42 heart events every day for the next 5 years, including heart attacks, strokes, and deaths. It is very important to recognise that Heart Health checks should be a regular part of your health check-up routine if you are 45 years or over, or even earlier if you present risk factors.
At Shire Doctors and Dentists, we are committed to providing high quality patient care, excellence, and safety, in addition to good value treatment and management.
Visit your GP and book your all-important Heart Health Check at Shire Doctors and Dentists today.