High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that can often go undetected. It is estimated around a third of the adults in the UK have high blood pressure, however, are not displaying any symptoms.
The only way to know for sure if you have hypertension is by having a blood pressure check. Many of our pharmacies offer the NHS Hypertension-Case Finding Service. If you are over 40 you and do not have a current diagnosis of hypertension or a related condition, you are eligible for a free blood pressure check. You are also eligible if you are under 40 but have a recognized family history of hypertension.
Persistent high blood pressure can lead to heightened risk of several serious health conditions including but not limited to heart disease, strokes and heart failure.
The Hypertension Case-Finding service is split into two parts, depending on your individual reading. The first part involves checking your blood pressure, within the pharmacy consultation room, using a blood pressure monitor.
If you have a high reading during this check, you are able to progress to the second part of the service. This part you will be offered the opportunity to receive Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM). For this test, you will be fitted with a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours that will take readings throughout the day. Even if you are offered an ABPM due to a high reading, it does not necessarily mean that you have hypertension. There are many reasons why your blood pressure may be high during the first check within the pharmacy, especially since blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. The 24 hour ABPM will help to determine if it is consistently high enough to be considered hypertension. You do not need to have the ABPM monitor fitted immediately but it is recommended that you make an appointment to receive this check within two weeks after the initial high reading.
Once the 24 ABPM check is completed and you have returned to the pharmacy to meet with the Pharmacist, your blood pressure results will be sent to your GP. The results produced by the 24 hour check will decide if any further action needs to be taken. If this is the case, the pharmacist will assist you to make a follow-up appointment with your GP.
If you have high blood pressure, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure:
- Reducing your salt intake
- Cut down your alcohol consumption
- Quit smoking
- Limit your caffeine intake
Some people may need to take medicines to lower or stop their blood pressure from becoming too high. If you have recently started taking medicine to lower your blood pressure and have any queries, please speak to any of our pharmacists who will be able to help.
All our pharmacies offer free blood pressure checks to any patient who would like to receive a check. Please contact any of our branches and for a free blood pressure check at your convenience.