Managing High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
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 causes 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.
How do I know I have hypertension?
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.
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 second number is the diastolic or resting pressure.
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.
You can learn more from the Heart Foundation about high blood pressure (hypertension), what you can do to lower it and how to understand blood pressure readings.
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.
Have a question about your medication?
If you have any questions or concerns about your heart medicines, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.
ZOOM’s friendly, highly-trained pharmacists are available on 0508 966 622 Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm.
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When you get your hypertension medicine online from ZOOM Pharmacy, we deliver directly to your door anywhere in NZ. Simply send ZOOM your prescription. You can do this through your patient portal, or tell your medical centre to send it, or take a photo and securely upload your prescription, or freepost / courier it yourself. A pharmacist will then get in touch and take it from there.
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