What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of 2 readings – one concerning the heart (systolic) and one concerning the blood vessels (diastolic), both measured in millimetres of mercury, and they are depicted as one figure over the other. Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 120/80. High blood pressure is anything over 140/90.
If you are over 40, the NHS recommends that you have your blood pressure tested by your GP or at a pharmacy at least every 5 years. We believe a lot can change in that time and you really should be checking this yourself at least monthly if not weekly.
Why is High Blood Pressure such a problem?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is rarely, if ever, given as the cause of death but it is one of the biggest contributors to death because of the diseases associated with it, such as heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and heart failure.
The causes of high blood pressure are varied but often it is associated with weight and diet. A good diet consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables combined with a little exercise can go a long way to ward off hypertension.
Types of Blood Pressure Checker
25% of adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure but they may not be aware of it because the symptoms are not always obvious so the only way to test this is by using some form of home blood pressure monitor. There are several types on the market but they generally fall under these categories:
• Upper arm monitors
• Wrist monitors
• Blood pressure app
Upper arm monitors provide more accurate blood pressure readings than a wrist monitor and monitors that track and provide an average reading over a 10-minute period are better because readings can vary for a number of reasons. You may feel tense at first – as with “white coat syndrome” where you feel nervous in the presence of a doctor or nurse. You may have just rushed upstairs or had a stressful drive home from work. So it is best to take at least 3 readings to get an accurate measure.
As far as blood pressure apps are concerned, it is still early days. There are apps available that provide interpretational information and help to diagnose potential problems but you will still need some form of blood pressure monitor to provide the results.