High Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure  (BP)

High blood Pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

High Blood pressure can be silent

There are many contributors to high BP: Family history, smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise,  high alcohol intake or salty diet are all causes.

Your blood pressure can also go up temporarily due to stress, your emotional state, recent physical activity, caffeine consumption or even talking.

There is a lot you can do to lower your BP by changing your lifestyle. See the tips below.

All the doctors at Easy T and Robina town Medical Centre are equipped to help you make the changes needed to have a healthy heart.

 

How is blood pressure measured and diagnosed

Your blood pressure is measured using a machine called a sphygmomanometer

  1. The top number is your systolic blood pressure (i.e. the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart muscle contracts)
  2. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure (i.e. your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats).

A ‘normal’ blood pressure reading would be:

Systolic blood pressure under 120 mm Hg

Diastolic blood pressure under 80 mm Hg

 

How do I measure my blood pressure at home?

If you have a BP machine at home you can check how your BP is going.

For the best results, you should:

  • Use a cuff that fits the top half of your arm properly
  • Take your measurements for seven days (minimum five) at around the same time in the morning or evening
  • Do your reading before eating, taking medication or vigorous exercise
  • Don’t smoke or drink caffeine for 30 minutes before your reading
  • Don’t measure your blood pressure if you don’t feel comfortable or you are stressed or in pain.

How to take your reading

When you are ready to take your blood pressure reading, follow these steps:

  • Sit quietly for five minutes, distraction-free
  • Sit with both feet flat on the ground, with the top half of your arm bare and your back and arm supported
  • Take two measures, one minute apart
  • Record each measure in a paper diary or spreadsheet that you can take to your next doctor’s appointment.

 

How Often Should I get my BP checked?

It is recommended that you get your BP checked every 2 years from the age of 18 to  45 and yearly after that.

 

If your blood pressure is high your Doctor may recommend an ECG and / or 24 hour BP monitor to help confirm the diagnosis.

All doctors at Robina Town Medical Centre are able to organise this care for you.

 

Lifestyle changes

The best way to look after your heart is with a healthy lifestyle.

Eat a heart-healthy diet 

  • Eat less salt: Eating a diet high in salt can lead to higher blood pressure
  • Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can reduce your risk of heart disease.

At Robina town Medical Centre we have a dietician available to help you with specific advice

 

Manage your blood cholesterol

Speak to your doctor about getting your cholesterol checked. Cholesterol and triglycerides are fats carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy, but an imbalance of cholesterol in your blood can increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  We have a resident dietician at Robina Town Medical Centre who can help you make change to your cholesterol levels. Sometimes a medication may need to be prescribed to help decrease your cholesterol level.

Manage diabetes

It’s important to manage your diabetes to help prevent a heart attack or stroke.

We have a Diabetes Educator to help you manage your diabetes better.

Be physically active 

Try and get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Try and stand instead of sit. It is never too late to get more physically active.

Maintain a healthy weight 

You can measure your BMI to assess whether you are a healthy weight. A BMI between 20-25 is healthy. Please ask your Doctor to measure you.

Stop smoking

Not smoking cigarettes is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart.  All the Doctors at Easy t and Robina Town Medical Centre are equipped to help you stop smoking , this may include prescribing a medication to help you stop.

Limit your alcohol intake 

Drinking alcohol can raise your blood pressure. After a few drinks, your blood pressure will spike temporarily, and regular heavy drinking can lead to a long-term blood pressure increase.

 

Medication

Sometimes your doctor may recommend medication to help reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

The most common blood pressure medicines include:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Diuretics

Some people may need more than one medicine to bring their high blood pressure under control.

If you have any concerns about your Blood Pressure, make an appointment with your GP today.