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. It is sometimes referred to as ‘the silent killer’ as you don’t necessarily 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 is required to pump 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 multiple readings record 130/80 or more. For some people with other medical conditions e.g. diabetes, blood pressure targets may be set a little lower.
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. Some medicines are combined into a single tablet or capsule making it easier to take versus several medicines at once.
High blood pressure cannot be ‘cured’ with medication, so medicines that reduce blood pressure should be taken for the rest of your life to reduce your risk. 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, as this can cause the heart attack or stroke that the treatment was aimed at avoiding.
Get your meds sorted with ZOOM Pharmacy
Taking a medicine every day for something like high blood pressure – which you don’t necessarily exhibit any obvious symptoms for – can be difficult. ZOOM Pharmacy makes managing your meds really easy. Receive daily text reminders to take your meds so you don’t forget, and talk with a pharmacist at a time that suits you, without having to stand in queue or have other people overhear what you say.
ZOOM delivers your prescription meds direct to your door, your repeats are organised for you.
Call 0508966622 Monday to Friday 7AM-6PM to speak to a ZOOM Pharmacist and find out more about our great FREE Medicine Sachet Pack Service for patients on four meds or more.