Did you know that over half of Irish men and women over the age of 45 have high blood pressure? If you didn’t, then you are not alone. Nearly 4 in every 5 men, and 2 in every 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated, putting themselves at risk of stroke, heart attack and more.
Have a read below to find out more about blood pressure, and what you can do to keep your blood pressure low and your heart healthy.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force used by your heart to circulate blood around your body. Blood pressure is considered one of the vital signs along with body temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate.
Blood pressure is measured in mmHg (millimetres of mercury) and contains two readings:
- Systolic(the top number) measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats
- Diastolic (the bottom number) measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats
What a healthy blood pressure?
Blood pressure ranges vary from person to person. Standard “textbook” blood pressure is 120/80, but anything between 100 to 140 (systolic) over 60 to 80 (diastolic) is considered within a “good” range.
Why is blood pressure important?
High blood pressure can indicate a range of health problems and is considered a risk factor in heart attack, stroke, poor circulation and kidney failure. Equally, low blood pressure can be dangerous, especially for older people as it may make people dizzy or faint, putting them at risk of falls.
What causes high blood pressure?
Approximately 30-40% of adults living in Ireland have high blood pressure, many of who remain untreated because high blood pressure rarely has obvious symptoms. Often lifestyle choices play a factor in high blood pressure, you are more at risk if you;
- Are overweight
- Eat a lot of salt
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Smoke tobacco
- Don’t take enough exercise
Although lifestyle plays an important role there is no one single cause of high blood pressure, blood pressure can also be higher in people who;
- Are of Afro-Caribbean descent
- Use the oral contraceptive pill
- Use recreational drugs
- Suffer from hormonal conditions, diabetes or kidney diseases
One of the best ways to reduce your blood pressure is to quit smoking. Call into any CarePlus Pharmacy today, where our teams will be happy to help you wave goodbye to cigarettes for good.
How to treat high blood pressure
Thankfully blood pressure can be managed effectively by making some lifestyle changes, the HSE recommends that you:
- Lose weight if you need to
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Cut back on alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Cut down on salt and caffeine
Your doctor might prescribe you tablets to help lower your blood pressure. These include:
If you have any further questions relating to blood pressure call into your local CarePlus pharmacist.