At the start of every year, with all my New Year’s resolutions of being healthier, I go to my doctor and get a complete health check-up. It’s an effort though. A worthwhile effort, but an effort.
There’s finding time to see the doctor, making an appointment (finding out the doctor is booked on the one day I’m free), going there, getting the tests done, going back for the results and being out of pocket for the cost of the visits. If it wasn’t for the guilt of New Years, I am sure I would skip it.
I can only imagine how I would push my health to the side if it was for one thing, like getting a regular blood pressure test, which I’ve just found out is important.
According to the Heart Foundation, more than two in five adult Australians have hypertension (high blood pressure) that is unmanaged, and almost 50 percent of heart disease deaths in Australia are attributable to high blood pressure. It is the number one risk factor for heart disease, yet a third of those suffering from high blood pressure aren’t controlling or managing it properly.
TerryWhite Chemmart has developed a partnership with the Heart Foundation to help Australians achieve better health by offering free blood pressure checks at their pharmacies.
I spoke to Krystel Tresillian, a Clinical Services Pharmacist at TerryWhite Chemmart, who gave me information on what is involved in blood pressure checks and why I (and everyone else) should pop into their local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacy for a check.
“While customers can book online, many pharmacies offer this as a walk-in service. It only takes five minutes,” says Krystel.
She advised that anyone over the age of 45 should have their blood pressure checked every two years, but if you have family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack you should get your blood pressure checked once a year. And of course, even if you don’t tick any of the above, if your GP has advised you to get regular checks, listen to them.
Close to 6 million Australians have high blood pressure and many have no management plan to manage their...
The good news about getting a blood pressure test is you don’t have to do (or avoid) anything beforehand.
“If you have been active just before your test, the pharmacist may ask you to sit for five minutes first to allow your heart rate to return to normal,” explains Krystel.
As for what happens, Krystel says, “When we conduct a blood pressure test, the cuff of the device will be put on your upper arm and inflated. As the cuff deflates we take two measurements, usually read as a number over another number, for example 120 over 80. The higher number is the systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats, while the lower number, the diastolic pressure, is the pressure between beats.”
So, when do we need to worry? “Generally, 140 over 90 or above is considered high although your GP may set a different target for you based on your family history or other medical conditions,” Krystel tells me.
“There are usually no symptoms with high blood pressure, so regular testing is important,” Krystel adds. “However, there are things that increase your risk of having high blood pressure, like being overweight, not getting enough physical activity, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day, stress, age, smoking and family history.”
Not only can a pharmacist check on your blood pressure, they can also offer expert advice about lifestyle changes if you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure.
“There are many things you can do to help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and help control it if you have been diagnosed – eat healthy foods, limit fat and salt intake, be active regularly, maintain a healthy weight, limit alcohol and stop smoking,” Krystel shares.
If your blood pressure results do come back high, that’s where you can head to your GP for further testing and advice on medication to help manage your blood pressure.
For a test that takes such a small amount of time, it could make a huge impact on your life.
When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked?
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner TerryWhite Chemmart.
Because your health is our priority, we offer a number of different health services right here in the pharmacy. Our approachable and accessible pharmacists also provide professional assistance for many different health and wellbeing issues. TerryWhite Chemmart, helping to keep you Alive & Well.