Blood & Cholesterol

High Blood Pressure

Part of the circulation of the blood in the body is uphill i.e. against gravity, and thus requires pressure to move it round the body. This pressure varies from person to person and varies at different times of the day and under different circumstances.

The blood pressure is normally lower when resting or sleeping and higher during activity. The level that is accepted as normal for blood pressure is one which falls within a range based on the average blood pressure of the majority of people. This range rises slowly as people get older.

Hypertension usually has no symptoms in itself but untreated can lead to damage in various organs of the body. Also, over years it can lead to damage to the heart and blood vessels making it more likely for the person to suffer a stroke or a heart attack.

Diagnosis is simple and involves the blood pressure being read with a sphygmomanometer. This reads your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The systolic pressure is the maximum pressure the heart achieves as it contracts to force blood out. The diastolic pressure is the lowest pressure the heart reaches while it slowly refills before the next contraction.

Occasionally, slightly high blood pressure can come back to the normal range when you lose weight, take more exercise and cut down on your salt intake. If this isn't successful then drug treatment is necessary. This has been shown to prolong life and cut down complications of hypertension.

If you are prescribed medication you must take it every day. There are many different treatments for hypertension all working in slightly different ways. Our pharmacist can give you advice on the medication you have been prescribed, what is safe to take with it and when it is best to take it.

There are many counter remedies, especially for colds, which cannot be taken when you have hypertension so please ask the pharmacist's advise before taking any other remedies.

Our Advice

  • If you are a smoker you should stop smoking.
  • Stay active, preferably with 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week.
  • If you are overweight try to lose weight.
  • Stick to healthy food i.e. less fat, more fibre and plenty of fruit and veg.
  • Cut down the salt in your diet.
  • Keep your alcohol intake to less than 28 units per week for men and 21 units for women.
  • If you have recurring headaches, occasional dizziness or alterations in your vision, these may be symptoms of very high blood pressure. Please see your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Monitor your own blood pressure at home. We have wrist and upper arm monitors for sale in the pharmacy at a very reasonable price.