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Blood Pressure

For those concerned about their blood pressure or have a history of problems related to blood pressure should have checks regularly if not already doing so. Risk factors for hypertension (high blood pressure) include if you are overweight, stressed, smoke, have low potassium or low vitamin D levels. Long-term hypertension causes strain on the cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease. We would also recommend a full blood profile test to check your liver and kidney function as well as cholesterol levels.

Lifestyle changes can help manage the disease however if hypertension is left untreated, it can lead to kidney disease and heart failure.

YOUR HEALTH, OUR PRIORITY

Same day appointments, as much time as you need with the doctor and instant referrals to our network of Consultant Specialists.

If you are experiencing health concerns, you don't have to wait any longer.

How to Prepare for the Test

The test does not involve any special preparations. Your blood pressure reading will be taken with an arm cuff attached to reading equipment. You will need to roll up your sleeve and the cuff will be placed around your upper arm. Our doctor/nurse will inflate the cuff and your arm will feel tight for a few seconds then slowly released to record your blood pressure which will be recorded on your notes.

Results

You will get the results during the consultation.  

Hypertensive Signs

Symptoms will include two or more of the following:

Vomiting, headache, double or blurred vision, nausea, nosebleeds, dizziness, breathlessness, and heart palpitations.

These symptoms individually, do not necessarily point to hypertension however with increased blood pressure may indicate you might be suffering from hypertension. Generally you will not notice if anything is wrong, as it is a silent disease, until it damages your body.

Extremely young babies and newborns with high blood pressure may experience seizures, failure to thrive, lethargy, respiratory distress, and irritability. Children who have high blood pressure may experience fatigue, headache, nosebleeds and blurred vision.

If diagnosed with hypertension you should have regular blood pressure checks. Our doctor or you own NHS G.P. will be able to do this for you and anti hypertensive medication prescribed to help maintain safe levels. Blood pressure check should be done at least once every five years especially if you have high cholesterol (which can be hereditary) you smoke and/or overweight, and generally as you become older your blood vessels become less elastic so needs to be done more regularly.

Risk Factors

Those who have a family history of hypertension have a higher risk of developing the disease. Other risk factors include:

  • High levels of bad cholesterol. i.e. LDL (low density lipoproteins). Higher levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood also cause an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL, thought of as 'good' cholesterol, prevents cardiovascular disease so increasing this is helpful.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular physical activity.
  • Consuming more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week or more than 3 units a day and pregnant women never.
  • Smoking causes a theromic plaques i.e. a build-up of a fatty deposit within the inside lining of arteries. Pregnant women should not smoke.
  • Poor diet and increased waist to hip ratio.
  • Eating goods with a lot of salt.
  • Not eating much fruit and vegetables. Recommended 5-8 a day.
  • Mental stress. Unfortunately, evidence links long-term chronic stress with high blood pressure.
  • People with diabetes are more at risk of developing high blood pressure if they are:

    • Of African-Caribbean origin.

    • From the Indian sub-continent.

  • Have a family history of high blood pressure.
  • Have sleep apnoea as a result of being overweight.
  • Pregnancy. If you have pre-existing high blood pressure, you have an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia during your pregnancy which, if not treated, will harm you and your unborn baby. High blood pressure during pregnancy is quite a regular phenomenon.

    • I. One in 10 pregnant women experience high blood pressure.
    • II. 4 - 8 in a 100 have gestational high blood pressure and do not go on to develop pre-eclampsia but from that percentage 2 - 8 may go on to develop it.
    • III. Women, who had developed pre-eclampsia in one pregnancy, may develop it again in a further pregnancy and half may go on then to develop gestational hypertension in future pregnancies.
    • IV. Problems with new high blood pressure are more common during the first pregnancy.

White Coat Syndrome

White Coat Syndrome is a term used when your blood pressure tends to be higher when taken by a doctor/nurse. If you experience this we normally try an ambulatory blood pressure and help you to relax before doing it again to get an accurate reading. Please talk to us prior to the test and we will make sure you are relaxed and comfortable.

YOUR HEALTH, OUR PRIORITY

Same day appointments, as much time as you need with the doctor and instant referrals to our network of Consultant Specialists.

If you are experiencing health concerns, you don't have to wait any longer.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Testing

A 24 hour blood pressure monitoring service is available. The clinic will provide you with the equipment that you take home with you and explain what you need to do.

Please return with the equipment and the results will be analysed our doctor. He/she will refer you to a specialist cardiologist if your blood pressure fluctuates dramatically throughout the day or detects a serious problem.

Hypertension can be resolved however with medication ensuring your blood pressure level is not raised and/or changes to your lifestyle. Surveys continue to show that hypertension remains under-diagnosed, under-treated and poorly controlled in the UK, although significant improvement has been demonstrated over the past 20 years[1, 5].

Hypotension - Low Blood Pressure.

Postural hypotension: is due to a fall in blood pressure on standing up. You may become dizzy or even faint. The faint may be preceded by chest pain or heart palpitations and may happen during exercise. (This may indicate an underlying heart problem.)

Most probable causes:

  • Medications prescribed to lower blood pressure.
  • Being dehydrated from vomiting, diarrhoea, or experiencing runny stools and other reasons for having a lack of fluid in the body (especially after a heavy alcohol binge).
  • Neurological diseases i.e. Parkinson's disease and peripheral neuropathy.
  • After a big meal.
  • Cardiac syncope: An underlying heart problem and/or a family history of sudden death.
  • Anaemia - due to heavy menstrual bleeding.

There are numerous reasons for a low blood pressure including internal bleeding and a severe reaction to a particular drug. In these circumstances we strongly recommend you attend the nearest hospital A & E department. However, our doctor will help with chronic conditions that require intervention treatments and advice to help with hypotension.

References:

  • Tackling high blood pressure - from evidence to action; Public Health England (PHE), November 2014.
  • Viera AJ, Neutze DM; Diagnosis of secondary hypertension: an age-based approach. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Dec 1582(12):1471-8.

All information has been licensed under the Open Government Licence. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/

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