Many healthy people have Hypertension (which is the disease where BloodPressure, BP is persistently raised), and it is important to spot this condition and treat it to prevent damage to the arteries (blood vessels supplying oxygen to the body). Untreated, it can lead to Heart Disease, Kidney Disease and Stroke.
Once diagnosed, reduction in salt in diet (check diet with your GP if you have other conditions) exercise, weight loss and BP medicines are essential in order to reduce the chance of more serious problems like Heart and Circulatory diseases.
There are two readings measured. The first is the Systolic, the maximun pressure generated by the heart as it pumps out the fresh red blood. The second lower reading is the Diastolic, which is the forward pressure remaining in the arteries, when the heart relaxes, giving the blood momentum to keep flowing, and preventing the blood simply flowing back into the heart!
Ideal=120/80 Vaguely acceptable is 140/85.
Sustained Systolics over 150, or Diastolics over 90, are quite dangerous.
Because it is normal for the heart to pump faster when someone is suddenly stressed or upset, this builds up pressure in your arteries (the elastic pipes supplying red blood to your body). Some if someone comes to the doctor and his/her BP is measured to be high, it might not necessarily mean that the BP doesn't drop right back to normal the minute you leave the room!
To get a better idea of your BP outside the surgery, some people buy a simple reliable elbow cuff sphygmomanometer from Lloyds, and take multiple readings, and put the on a BP graph graph example to bring to show the GP (along with their machine, to have it checked against the doctor's machine). The reading that you enter on the chart should be the lowest of 2 readings.
If you are stressed at the time of measuring, or have just vigorously exercised, or drunk alcohol, it can falsely read high.
Omron are the most accurate type of machine, but LLoyds do their own brand, which is often discounted from £25 to £15. (ring and check price with Lloyds pharmacy 79 Banstead Rd, Carshalton SM5 3NP, 020 8642 0928). Varying readings is normal. It's finding the best or lowest of 2 or 3, and making multiple readings over a week.
Some machines can overread on certain people. To check the accuracy of your measurements, you could try taking BP on your partner. If theirs is lower than yours, maybe the machine is faulty. Do bring it to our HealthCare Assistant Jacqui so she can calibrate it for you (taking BP with yours and hers at the same time on different arms).
Monitoring Hypertensive Disease
If you find it difficult to get to surgery to have your twice yearly BP taken, then several chemists will do it for you for a small charge.
Don't forget that most BP medicines need an annual kidney blood test to make sure they are doing you no harm.
We need an annual BP phoned through 130/85 or less to be able to continue to prescribe your medicines.