Heart Health - Tips & Advice

High blood pressure or hypertension is the leading risk factor for stroke, heart attack and other serious heart conditions. Research has shown that only half of people with high blood pressure are aware that they have the condition. The Irish heart foundation advise all adults over the age of 30 to have their blood pressure checked at least once a year.

Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of your arteries (large blood vessels) as it is pumped around your body by your heart. It indicates how much work your heart needs to do to pump blood around your body.

Blood pressure measurements consist of two numbers. A blood pressure reading below 130/80mmHg is considered to be normal. Blood pressure may increase or decrease depending on a range of factors such as age, diet, heart health, emotions, activity, the medication you take, smoking & caffeine intake.

However once detected, high blood pressure can be managed with some lifestyle changes and if needed, medication.

You may be at risk if:

  • You are over 30 and you have never had your blood pressure checked
  • You are a smoker
  • You are overweight (with a BMI of 25 or greater)
  • You have a high intake of salt and processed foods
  • You have a low intake of fruit and vegetables
  • You have a high intake of alcohol
  • You are not physically active. (It is recommended that adults get 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days each week.)
  • You have family history of high blood pressure
  • You have previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure and you or your doctor wish to see if steps taken have brought your blood pressure under control (e.g. lifestyle changes or blood pressure medication)
  • You suff­er from ‘White Coat’ hypertension which means that you may get a temporary high blood pressure reading while you are at the doctor’s surgery because you are nervous or stressed.
  • You or a member of your family has high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes.

“4 in 5 men and 2 in 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated.”

Source: Irish Heart Foundation

At your local Life Pharmacy, a member of our trained pharmacy team can check your blood pressure for free in our private consultation room and talk to you about the results. Your pharmacy team member will be able to tell you if your blood pressure is normal or if you may need to speak to the pharmacist or your doctor about it. We will also give you advice on how to help keep your blood pressure within normal limits. Having your blood pressure checked is a quick and painless process.

If you are coming in to get your blood pressure checked, we recommend you wear a short sleeved top so we can access your arm easily in order to get an accurate reading.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES
High blood pressure can often be successfully reduced and managed by making some lifestyle changes. These include changing your diet to include less salt and processed foods and increasing your intake of fruit, vegetables and healthy grains. Increasing physical activity is also a great way of reducing high blood pressure and improving your overall health and wellness.

DISPENSE AND REVIEW YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to help control your blood pressure. Your Life pharmacist will talk to you about your medicines including how they work, potential side effects, what your dosage is and when is the best time to take them.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
At Life Pharmacy we can measure your weight and height in order to determine your Body Mass Index (BMI). Maintaining a healthy BMI is important for a healthy blood pressure and help to prevent against other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.


SMOKING CESSATION
Stopping smoking is one of the best changes that you can make in your journey towards better health, including lowering high blood pressure. We have many tools in-store to help your cravings when you stop smoking such as nicotine replacement patches, gums, inhalers, and lozenges. A member of your Life pharmacy team will be happy to assist you in any queries you may have to help you stop smoking.
To find out more about our Blood Pressure, visit your local Life Pharmacy.