Being a Well Woman includes being physically healthy. That is why I include information about physical health. On of the main silent killers is high blood pressure, so in this article I want to talk about high blood pressure and what you can do to avoid it, cure it or deal with it.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. When your blood pressure is too high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Over time, this can weaken your heart. High blood pressure also places a strain on the walls of your arteries, making a blockage more likely. This means that having high blood pressure is a big problem, because it increases the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
How to measure
There are a few simple steps that you can follow to be sure that you get an accurate reading of your blood pressure.
Take this into consideration when taking your blood pressure:
- A lot of factors can affect your blood pressure reading, for example eating a big meal, taking your blood pressure 30 minutes after smoking or taking caffeine.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothes, wear loose-fitting clothes like a short sleeved t-shirt so that you can push your sleeve up comfortably.
- Always use the same arm for blood pressure readings, as each arm will give you a slightly different reading.
- Before you take your readings, rest for five minutes. You should be sitting down in a quiet place, preferably at a desk or table, with your arm resting on a firm surface and your feet flat on the floor.
- Your arm should be relaxed, not tensed. Make sure your arm is supported and that the cuff around your arm is at the same level as your heart. You may need to support your arm with a cushion to be sure it is at the correct height.
- Taking blood pressure at home with your BP monitor.
- Put the cuff on following the instructions that came with your monitor.
- Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. If you are anxious or uncomfortable, this will make your blood pressure rise temporarily.
- Keep still and silent whenever you are taking your own reading. Moving and talking can affect your reading.
- Take two or three readings, each about two minutes apart, and then work out the average. Some people find that their first reading is much higher than the next readings. If this is true for you, keep taking readings until they level out and stop falling, then use this as your reading.
- Record your reading, either in the memory of your monitor or on computer or paper.
Keep a record of your readings
Ensure you keep accurate records of your blood pressure – if you don’t keep accurate records of your blood pressure it may affect the treatment you receive.
Do not be worried if you get an unexpected high reading – a one-off reading may be nothing to worry about. Measure your blood pressure again at another time, but if you find that it continues to be high after a period of time, consult your doctor or nurse.
Do not check your blood pressure too often – you may become worried or stressed about small changes in your reading. This can raise your blood pressure in the short-term. Worrying about your blood-pressure reading may actually make it higher.