Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is a common term for hypertension (high blood pressure).

How should you measure your blood pressure

A blood pressure machine can be bought from most high street pharmacies. The cuff should be placed around your upper arm directly onto the skin. The cuff should be the correct size and you should ensure a smooth and comfortable fit.

You should rest calmly in a seated position for a couple of minutes before recording your blood pressure, then make two readings a minute apart. You should then record the lowest of the two readings.  Typically you would repeat this reading for 7 days recording your blood pressure in the morning and evenings. The average of this 7 day recording would typically be used as a measure of your average blood pressure.

What is a normal blood pressure reading

A normal blood pressure reading is classified as an average home BP monitoring result less than 135/85.

A home average BP greater than 135/85 is classified as stage 1 hypertension and would usually result in lifestyle changes, a discussion a round starting medication to treat hypertension.

A blood pressure average reading greater than 150/95 would be classified as stage 2 hypertension and should be treated with lifestyle intervention and drug treatment. In younger patients (those less than 40 years of age) a diagnosis of hypertension would also include further specialist tests to exclude secondary causes of hypertension.

What lifestyle interventions can help lower blood pressure

A healthy diet, keeping your body weight in the normal range and regular exercise can all help reduce blood pressure.  Reducing your alcohol intake and avoiding excessive consumption of coffee or other caffeinated drinks may help.  Reducing salt intake and not adding salt to your food at the table can help.  Avoiding smoking is also important for patients who have hypertension as these are both risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.

Blood pressure monitor