The 29th of September marks this year’s World Heart Day. To celebrate, we thought we’d provide you with answers to some of our more commonly-asked questions relating to blood pressure.
Please keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to discuss things further with one of our friendly pharmacists in person or your GP.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. It can be affected by many factors, including stress, sleep and even your breathing.
What do the numbers in blood pressure readings mean?
When you get your blood pressure checked, the reading will consist of two numbers. Let’s use 120/80 as an example. The first number (120) refers to systolic blood pressure – pressure in the arteries when your heart pumps out blood. The second (80) is your diastolic pressure, the pressure within your arteries as your heart is resting in between beats.
What is a normal BP range and what is a good blood pressure reading?
There isn’t a ‘normal’ blood pressure range, as everyone is different. But generally, between 90/60 and 120/80 can be considered a typical or ‘good’ range. Speak with a healthcare professional to find out what’s ideal for you, though.
How often should it be checked?
It is recommended to have your blood pressure checked frequently; your doctor or pharmacist can provide more in-depth information, as it may vary from person to person. Find out more about TerryWhite Chemmart’s blood pressure testing and book in here.
What are the causes of high blood pressure?
Short-term high blood pressure can be the result of stressful situations, stimulants and more. For those who suffer from long-term high blood pressure readings, known as hypertension, it may have been caused by:
- Family history
- Poor diet
- Being overweight/obese
- Living a sedentary lifestyle
- Overindulgence in alcohol
- Some medications
These are just some of the potential risk factors. Speak with your pharmacist for further information.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Unfortunately, hypertension is known as a ‘silent killer’; there are generally no symptoms. For this reason, it’s imperative that you stay vigilant with blood pressure checks. It’s linked to many serious health issues, such as:
- Heart disease/failure
- Kidney disease/failure
- Damage to eyes
- Erectile dysfunction
What are the best ways to reduce blood pressure?
To help lower your blood pressure and maintain it at a healthier level, look at implementing a proper diet and exercise regime. Reduce salt and alcohol intake, and if you smoke – stop now. Talk to your GP before making lifestyle changes, though.
Is it possible to have too low blood pressure?
People who have readings below 90/60 are generally regarded as having low blood pressure or ‘hypotension’. For people who are extremely fit, low blood pressure can be perfectly healthy. For others, it can have adverse effects on the body and even be life-threatening.
What causes low blood pressure?
There are several reasons why you might experience hypotension. These include dehydration, stress, pain, pregnancy, due to donating blood, certain medications, fear, infection, heat and more. Talk with a healthcare professional for further information.
What are the symptoms of hypotension?
In extreme cases, hypotension causes shallow breathing, pale, clammy skin, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness. In this case, emergency medical assistance is required. Less dramatic signs include:
- Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
- Inability to concentrate
- Feeling weak
- Blurred vision
If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, please see your doctor.
How can you treat low blood pressure?
By increasing how much water you drink, you’ll increase the volume of your blood and prevent dehydration – two of the causes of low blood pressure. It may also help to increase how much salt you’re getting in your diet (but speak with your GP before you take this step). There are a number of other ways to help increase your blood pressure – speak with your pharmacist or another healthcare professional if you’d like to know more.