Blood Pressure screening service is available in our pharmacy without prior appointment.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term used for high blood pressure and is a major cause of stroke and heart attack. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, together with your family doctor and a healthy lifestyle, you can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart attack. The only way you can find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. For most people the only way to know you have hypertension is to have it measured. Two numbers measure the level of blood pressure. One number records blood pressure when the pressure is at its highest as the heart squeezes out the blood from the heart – this is called systolic pressure. Then when the heart relaxes and allows the blood to flow back into the heart – this measurement is called diastolic pressure. The normal level of blood pressure is about 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic). If you have several measurements which show that your blood pressure is 140 over 90, (or over 140 over 80 if you have diabetes) then it is likely that you have hypertension or high blood pressure
Why should I have my blood pressure checked?
High blood pressure causes gradual damage to the blood vessels and the heart without any obvious symptoms. If untreated this damage progresses over time and may result in stroke, heart attack or kidney damage. High blood pressure is the main risk factor for stroke, which leads to 2,000 deaths a year in Ireland.
Will I have to see my doctor?
Depending on your blood pressure result, you may be recommended by the Pharmacist to visit a doctor within a specific time. Should you suffer from any of the following symtoms dizziness, blurred vision, palpitations or shortness of breath you should seek immediate evaluation by your GP. Always remember that high blood pressure is just one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. If you consider yourself to be high risk, you should seek your GP’s advice.
What if I am diagnosed with High Blood Pressure?
If you have been told you have high blood pressure, your doctor is likely to recommend a number of important lifestyle changes such as:
- Eating a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables and unprocessed cereals (e.g. porridge) as well as low in saturated (animal) fats.
- Eating less salt and processed foods.
- Being more physically active.
- Losing weight and staying a healthy weight.
- Cutting down on alcohol consumption.
- Stopping smoking
You will be asked to return in a few months for a repeat check, when hopefully the changes you have made have lowered your blood pressure to normal levels.
Although lifestyle changes can be very effective, some people will need medication as well. Don’t be concerned if your doctor prescribes more than one tablet to control your blood pressure. This is quite common. Each tablet works slightly differently. By using a combination of tablets, you can achieve much better blood pressure control & with less side-effects than using a single tablet. It’s essential that you take your blood pressure medication every day, and as prescribed, to ensure you keep your blood pressure under control.