Over a quarter of adults have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and this figure is rising.
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease – the leading cause of death in New Zealand. High blood pressure also increases the risk of kidney disease, blindness and triples the risk of stroke.
What is a high blood pressure?
The New Zealand Heart Foundation says an ideal blood pressure for most people is 120/75 mmHg or less, while high blood pressure is when blood pressure is consistently around or above 140/90 mmHg.
What is the main cause of high blood pressure?
Hypertension has no clear cause, and often runs in families. Often, you don’t actually feel unwell when your blood pressure is high.
Lifestyle is a factor; obesity, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise can increase blood pressure. Likewise losing weight, stopping smoking and being more active can reduce blood pressure.
What do you feel with high blood pressure?
Blood pressure pumps blood around the body. Pressure is not constant and varies depending on the time of day and changes in body position. If you stand up quickly, you can feel dizzy as your blood pressure increases to cope with being upright.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured as two numbers e.g. 120/80. The first number is the systolic pressure, the maximum pressure needed to let the heart move blood through the body. The normal systolic pressure is usually between 110-130 mmHg The second number is the diastolic or resting pressure, when your heart relaxes. The normal diastolic pressure is usually between 70–80 mmHg.
As you age, your doctor will check your blood pressure at each visit, as blood pressure tends to increase with age. High blood pressure is diagnosed after recording multiple readings of 130/80 or more. Some people with other medical conditions e.g. diabetes, blood pressure targets may be set a little lower.
How can I lower my blood pressure?
Successful treatment of hypertension can involve the use of multiple medicines to reduce blood pressure. Lower doses of several medicines can provide better blood pressure control and reduce side effects when compared to a single high dose medicine. To make it easier to take your medication, some of these medicines are combined into a single tablet or capsule.
To reduce your risk, medicines that reduce blood pressure will need to be taken for the rest of your life. But the good news is, by taking your medicine as prescribed, you reduce your risk of developing other diseases by a huge margin. For example, you will reduce the risk of stroke by 34% and the risk of heart disease by 21%.
If you take medicines to reduce your blood pressure, it is important to take them every day and not to stop them without discussing this with your doctor. It can be dangerous to suddenly stop blood pressure medicines.
Are home blood pressure monitors worth buying?
The American Heart Association and many doctors recommend a blood pressure monitor for home use to help people with high blood pressure manage the condition. The daily use of a monitor can help you track your blood pressure and prompt you to seek further care when needed.
Buy a Blood Pressure Monitor for home use from ZOOM Pharmacy, your trusted and reliable supplier. We have sourced a great BP monitor at a great price, delivered to your door, batteries included.
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- Managing High Blood Pressure – Heart Foundation
- Medication Adherence and the Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality and Hospitalization Among Patients With Newly Prescribed Antihypertensive Medications – Hypertension March 2016