Blood Pressure Test

Understanding Blood Pressure

A blood pressure measurement determines the amount of work your heart is doing to pump the blood around your body. It measures how strongly your blood presses against the walls of your blood vessels.

The blood pressure measurement has two numbers:

The top number is the systolic pressure which measures the pressure of the blood when your heart beats to pump blood out of the heart and around the body.

The bottom number is the diastolic pressure which is the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats.

If you have high blood pressure it is likely that you may not have any symptoms and feel fine. As a result, half of people with high blood pressure are not aware they have the condition. Untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and may cause damage to blood vessels in your eyes and kidneys. The Irish Heart Foundation have found that 2 in 5 people in Ireland have high blood pressure.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured.  Once it is detected, high blood pressure can be managed and kept to a safe level with some lifestyle changes and medication if required.

 

Who is at risk of high blood pressure?

Many factors can increase your risk of high blood pressure and chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. There is often no clear cause but your risk is increased if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are of African or Carribbean descent
  • Eat too much salt
  • Do not eat many fruit and vegetables
  • Do not take enough exercise
  • Are a smoker
  • Drink too much alcohol or caffeinated drinks
  • Have a family member with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or diabetes

 

How is my blood pressure checked?

When you come to the pharmacy, the pharmacist will meet you in a private consultation room. The pharmacist will use a blood pressure monitor to assess your blood pressure. A cuff will be placed on your arm and the reading will be taken. We recommend that you wear a short sleeved top for the check to be as comfortable as possible for you. The pharmacist will then discuss your result and advise any next steps you should take including lifestyle advice.

Where can I avail of the service and how much does it cost?

This service is available in all Phelans stores and is free of charge.