What’s New With Blood Pressure?

What’s New With Blood Pressure?

Managing Hypertension

“What’s New” is the title page of Hypertension Canada’s 2016 CHEP guidelines booklet for the management of Hypertension. CHEP stands for Canadian Hypertension Education Program. The dedicated men and women who compose this important document are unpaid volunteers comprised of clinical and scientific healthcare professionals. They selflessly contribute their time and expertise to the annual development and dissemination of the CHEP guidelines, which helps keep healthcare professionals informed of best practices in hypertension management.

What is hypertension?

Usually, when your blood pressure (BP) is above the healthy range, you have “high BP” or hypertension. Most people can’t tell whether their BP is high; they call it the silent killer.

What should my BP be?

A healthy BP, measured at your doctor’s office, should be less than 140/90 mmHg. At home, it should be less than 135/85 mmHg. For people over 80 years of age, it should be less than 150/90 mmHg. Finally, for diabetics, it should be less than 130/80 mmHg. Ideally, your normal BP should be 120/80 mmHg.

What does that mean?

The figure 120 is a representation of your systolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. Next, 80 describes your diastolic pressure, the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is at rest between beats.

Why does BP increase?

BP increases with age because blood vessels narrow as we get older. As a result, your heart works harder to pump blood through your blood vessels, which causes the pressure in your blood vessels to increase.

How does high BP harm the body?

It can lead to numerous debilitating diseases such as memory loss, stroke, impaired vision or blindness, angina, heart pain or heart attack, kidney damage as well as decreased sexual ability.

What causes high blood pressure?

FACTORS YOU CAN CONTROL

• DIET
• SMOKING
• EXCESSIVE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
• LACK OF EXERCISE
• OBESITY
• STRESS
• SLEEP APNEA
• DIABETES
• KIDNEY DISEASE

FACTORS YOU CANNOT CONTROL

• AGE
• SEX
• FAMILY HISTORY

Who can check your blood pressure?

• NURSE
• DOCTOR
• YOU
• PHARMACIST
• YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

How can I purchase a BP monitor for home use?

Talk to your pharmacist about which home BP monitor is best for you. Make sure your arm is measured for the right cuff size.

How can I measure my BP at home?

They can also help assist you in getting more involved in the treatment by encouraging you to have more responsibility and autonomy in monitoring your own BP and reporting the results so your healthcare provider can adjust your prescriptions as needed. They can also help educate you and your family about hypertension and its treatment.

Why treat high BP?

Treatment, in the form of medication and healthy lifestyle choices, can significantly help persons with hypertension. A decrease of 10/5 mmHg (achievable by taking one medication or introducing one change in lifestyle) reduces your risk of developing heart failure by 50 percent, stroke by 38 percent, heart attack by 15% percent and death by 10 percent.

How can I treat high BP with medication?

It’s important to remember that medications only work if you take them. Most people need two or more medications to control their BP and, for the most part, need to stay on them for life. Lifestyle changes are also needed. Most medications take up to six weeks to show their full effect; be patient. What’s more, because medications have controlled the BP does not mean
that one’s hypertension has been completely cured. Stopping a treatment when blood pressure returns to normal can cause your BP to rise again to dangerous levels. Fortunately, many drugs that lower BP also prevent heart attacks and strokes.

How can I do a better job of taking my medication properly?

Work with your healthcare provider and pharmacist to help improve medication adherence. They can help assist you at every visit using a multi-pronged approach that includes tailoring and simplifying pill taking to fit your daily habits. They can utilize single pill combinations as well as recommend unit of use packaging (myOnePac).

What are some further dos and don’ts of BP monitoring?

Do:

• Carefully read instructions for your blood pressure monitor
• Go to the bathroom before taking your pressure
• Sit comfortably: feet flat on floor, back supported, arm at heart level
• A bare arm is the preferred method (or a thin layer of clothing) on your upper arm
• Put cuff on and wait for 5 minutes Take two readings – wait 1 to 2 minutes between readings
• Record date and time with measurement
• Show your readings to your healthcare provider

Don’t:

• Cross your legs
• Take your pressure if you’re in a hurry
• Smoke 30 minutes before measuring
• Drink caffeine 30 minutes before measuring
• Eat a big meal for 2 hours before measuring
• Wear tight clothing
• Talk or watch TV during a measurement
• Measure your pressure if you are cold, nervous, uncomfortable, or in pain.

To lower your blood pressure, integrate the acronym PRESSURE into your day-to-day life:

Get regular Physical activity: Aim to get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day. Reduce your weight and

Eat a healthy diet: Integrate into your diet fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats like fish and poultry.

Stop smoking: Avoiding smoking will lower your risk of organ damage.

Ask your pharmacist or primary healthcare provider about proven methods that can help you quit forever.

Eat less Sodium: Fully 13 percent of cardiovascular events in Canada are attributed to excess dietary sodium. Processed and fast foods contain high amounts of salt. Choose foods with 5 percent or less of the daily value of sodium.

You can control blood pressure: Aiming to live a less stressful life can significantly affect your fight against hypertension. Individualized cognitive behaviour interventions are more likely to be effective when relaxation techniques are employed.

Take your medications: If you are on medications, take them as directed by your healthcare provider.

Avoid Excess alcohol: Limit alcohol consumption to less than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women

By: Frank Murgic, President & CEO of Sunshine Drugs.

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