Blood pressure monitoring
What is a blood pressure test?
A blood pressure test measures the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps.
When you have your blood pressure taken, you will be asked to slide a soft material cuff onto your upper arm and it is then inflated by a hand pump and the air slowly released as the blood pressure monitoring machine takes a few minutes to obtain an accurate reading of your blood pressure.
You will receive a handout for your records or for referral to another health professional if necessary.
What do the numbers on my blood pressure reading mean?
A blood pressure reading is written as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic), like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.
The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. This is called diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.
What is a normal reading?
Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down all the time, adjusting to your heart’s needs depending on what you are doing. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal. The medical term for chronically high blood pressure is hypertension.
The healthy range according to the American Heart Association (AHA) is that your blood pressure needs to show a top number (systolic pressure) that’s between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number (diastolic pressure) that’s between 60 and less than 80.
Why do I need to get my blood pressure checked?
You can’t feel your blood pressure. There are usually no warning signs, so you can have high or low blood pressure and not know. That’s why it’s important to get it checked.
If your blood pressure is high, it is putting extra strain on your arteries and on your heart.
As a result, over time this strain can cause the arteries to become thicker and less flexible, or to become weaker.
Keeping a close eye on your blood pressure is a good way to catch changes early and take appropriate action.
If your arteries become thicker and less flexible, they will become narrower, making them more likely to become clogged up.
As we all know, when an artery becomes completely clogged up (a condition known as a clot), a heart attack, a stroke, kidney disease or dementia can result.
More rarely, if an artery has become weakened, the extra strain may eventually lead to the artery bursting. This may also cause a heart attack or stroke.
What if my blood pressure is higher or lower than the normal range?
Our pharmacist will provide advice and recommendations and referral to another health professional if necessary.
There are many ways in which you can lower your blood pressure and put less strain on your arteries and heart.
Many of these are lifestyle changes which our pharmacist or your doctor can help you with.
You could also attend regular in-house blood pressure readings or follow a monitoring program to help with risk assessment and management of your condition.
This service supports patients to self-monitor blood pressure as a cardiovascular disease screening/monitoring service, often with referral to medical support when necessary.
Why do I have high blood pressure?
The exact causes of high blood pressure are often not clear. Your blood pressure may be influenced by:
- family history
- eating patterns, including salty foods
- alcohol intake
- how much physical activity you do.
Some medicines can also raise blood pressure.
How much does it cost to get my blood pressure checked?
Nothing! Its a free service we offer at Dee Why Pharmacy. Feel free to call in to us and we can take a reading for you on the spot.