High Blood Pressure – “The silent killer”

the silent killerYou hear high blood pressure described as “the silent killer”. You may think thats a bit melodramatic, but it is an important issue to be on top of. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is easy to detect (but has no symptoms thus the “silent killer” tag) and it’s easy to treat.  Untreated it has many severe consequences. Come into Blooms The Chemist and we’ll test your blood pressure for you free of charge.  No appointment is needed and it will only take a few minutes.  You’ll leave with either peace of mind that everything is good, or a referral for you GP to retest and determine if they need to provide further treatment. Half of all people in Australia with high blood pressure have no idea there is a problem. There are no symptoms to alert you to the fact that your blood pressure is high, so with out testing you may never know. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for many diseases including  some of the leading causes of death.  These include:

  • Heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
  • Aneurysm. Increased blood pressure can cause your blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
  • Heart failure. To pump blood against the higher pressure in your vessels, your heart muscle thickens. Eventually, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
  • Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys. This can prevent these organs from functioning normally.
  • Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes. Sometimes leading to loss of sight.
  • Trouble with memory or understanding. Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn. Trouble with memory or understanding concepts is more common in people who have high blood pressure.

Blooms The Chemist are run a Blood Pressure screening program.  Come in and get your Blood Pressure tested, so at least you’ll know if something needs to be done.

What to do about high blood pressure. There are many lifestyle factors which will affect your blood pressure.  By changing these you may be able to decrease your blood pressure.  If this is not sufficient (or if you just can’t change your behaviours) your doctor may prescribe medications. Because you can’t tell if you blood pressure is high without a test, many people stop taking their medications, or only take them sometimes because they feel ok.  In order for them to work you really need to take your blood pressure medicine regularly (ALL THE TIME). High blood pressure has many risk factors, including:

  • Age. The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age. Through early middle age, high blood pressure is more common in men. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after menopause.
  • Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in families.
  • Being overweight or obese. The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls.
  • Not being physically active. People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction — and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.
  • Using tobacco. Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.
  • Too much salt (sodium) in your diet. Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure.
  • Too little potassium in your diet. Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. If you don’t get enough potassium in your diet or retain enough potassium, you may accumulate too much sodium in your blood.
  • Too little vitamin D in your diet. It’s uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure.
  • Drinking too much alcohol. Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day can raise your blood pressure.
  • Stress. High levels of stress can lead to a temporary, but dramatic, increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only increase problems with high blood pressure.
  • Certain chronic conditions. Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, including high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and sleep apnea.

As you can see, several of the above risk factor are controlable to a certain extent.  To reduce your risk of high blood pressure, you should increase your physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke, don’t drink too much etc etc etc. The main thing to remember however is that you CANNOT TELL if your blood pressure is high or not.   To know you must have it tested.

If you don’t want to go to the doctor just to check your blood pressure, come into the Blooms The Chemist Albion Park.  After that if its high, you’ll need to visit the doctor.  But at least you’ll know.

If you need us we’re open:

  • 8am-9pm everyday except Christmas
  • 1/167 Tongarra Road,
  • Albion Park NSW 2527
  • Phone: 02 4256 4610

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