Did you know that 9 out of 10 Canadians will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime? It can be accompanied by NO SYMPTOMS so it’s best to get checked regularly at home or by your doctor or pharmacist.
So, what does high blood pressure do? What causes it? How can you fix it? Keep reading to find out!
What is Blood Pressure?
The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to all the tissues of the body through blood vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the force felt by the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them.
If you’ve ever had your blood pressure checked you know it shows two numbers. The top number (Systolic pressure) is the blood pressure created when the heart contracts, and the bottom number (Diastolic pressure) refers to the pressure of the blood when your heart relaxes.
You should get your blood pressure checked regularly to make sure it’s under control. You should get it checked more often if you have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors.
What Should My Blood Pressure Be?
Most people should have a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mmHg at the doctor’s office and less than 135/85 mmHg at home, and people with diabetes should be less than 130/80 mmHg.
If your blood pressure is consistently higher than these numbers you may suffer from Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. This can be serious and over time can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, angina, and dementia to name a few things.
High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” because of its tendency not to show symptoms.
What Should I do if I Have Hypertension?
A good start to deal with hypertension is the purchase a home blood pressure monitor. This will help you monitor your blood pressure closely so you can make changes to your lifestyle to lower those high numbers! Your Capsule Pharmacist can help you select a reliable blood pressure monitor that suits your preferences.
The hypertension website has some great advice on how to measure your blood pressure at home but remember you should
- Rest quietly for 5 minutes before taking the measurement
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor (don’t cross them!)
- Sit with your back and arm supported
- Keep your arm at heart level
- Put the cuff on your bare arm
- Measure your blood pressure 2 times in the morning and at night for a week before your appointment or after change in blood pressure medication
- Keep all four daily measurements in a log
- DON’T consume caffeine/alcohol for 30 minutes beforehand
- DON’T smoke for 30 minutes beforehand
- DON’T speak during the monitoring
Lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your blood pressure. These include being physically active 4 to 7 days a week for at least 30 minutes. Choose veggies, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meat when eating. Avoid fast foods, canned foods or foods that are high in: sugar, trans fat, and oil.
You must watch what you consume. Eat less sodium (salt). Limit your alcohol intake. Manage your weight (losing 10 pounds if you’re overweight will help lower your blood pressure).
It’s also incredibly important avoid smoking. Smoking can cause so much more than just increased blood pressure (heart problems and other diseases) so quitting can give you a world of benefits.
Your doctor may prescribe you medication to help lower your blood pressure. These may include one ore more of the following: diuretics (water pills), beta blockers (in those younger than 60), angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), or calcium channel blockers.
They all work to lower your blood pressure but some of them work better for different people. Its best is to listen to what your doctor or pharmacist tells you, and never stop the medication without consulting them first.
Talk to your Capsule Pharmacist
If you’re worried about your blood pressure make sure you take the time to talk to your health care professional about what you can do to keep your blood pressure under control.
Come in to Capsule pharmacy today to get your blood pressure checked and to discuss options for a healthier you! Have a great week!
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