08 December 2006

Put Your Man to the Test

A new campaign encourages women to test their partner’s blood pressure with a simple home test.

The ‘His Heart is in Your Hands’ campaign urges women to reduce the numbers of men who die each year from a heart disease or stroke. High blood pressure has virtually no visible symptoms resulting in more deaths and severe disability following Stroke than any other disease.

A simple home test using a Blood Pressure Monitor people can find out in just a few minutes if theiy or their partners are at risk and would benefit from medical advice and treatment.

The Blood Pressure Association, who supports home testing, says “measuring blood pressure at home with an accurate machine can be very worthwhile, it can give you more control over your blood pressure and be reassuring.

Blood Pressure Monitors are simple and easy to use at home. An inflatable cuff is put around the arm and a digital reading is given within just a few seconds.

Various Online Medical Equipment retailers who supply monitors to hospitals are now offering easy to use Home Monitors that are validated by the British Hypertension Society.

A list of recommended models/machines for home use is available at www.blood-pressure-monitoring.org/

On the site you will also find a full guide about how to measure blood pressure properly eg blood pressure is best tested when relaxed and calm.

09 November 2006

Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home

The only way of keeping track of your blood pressure is to measure it regularly with an accurate blood pressure monitor. Be careful when you choose one because there are many types and models of blood pressure monitors available.

It is crucial that you make an informed decision about which machine to buy and will suit you best.

It is very important to monitor how your blood pressure changes over time. This way you will have an active role in taking care of your own health and it will be easier to determine what kind of treatment you need.

Prices of a digital blood pressure monitor are not too high and they are easy to use.
The British Hypertension Society produces a list of clinicaly tested accurate blood pressure monitors. You can read more about these on this page.

It is important to use a recommended machine because otherwise you may perform innaccurate measurements and this should be avoided.

You must also take into account the fact the values of the blood pressure vary for everyone, so do not be frightened if a few of your readings are a bit over the line, this is normal for everybody. You should only worry if these high values keep repeating, and in this case you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Also, the values of the readings that you make with the blood pressure monitors may be lower than usual a few times, which is also normal.

If you want the readings to be as accurate as possible try to sit down, rested, on a hard surface when performing the measurements.

Finally do not forget that the purpose of measuring your blood pressure at home is is to lower it!

11 August 2006

Blood Pressure Testing Week 11 - 17 September

Know Your Numbers

The National Blood Pressure Testing Week is from 11th to 17th September 2006. This UK wide awareness week offers free blood pressure checks to members of the public using accurate blood pressure monitors in a wide variety of places.

Details fo where you can get your blood pressure measured will be posted at your local pharmacy, supermarket, shopping centre, Community Centre, surgery or work place nearer the time.

Visit this site to find out more about blood pressure monitoring .

This event is organised by the Blood Pressure Association.

27 July 2006

Blood Pressure and Hot Weather

During periods of hot weather many people who have high blood pressure begin to ask "does the hot weather affect my blood pressure?"

Due to the heat it is likely that more dehydration than usual occurs and this can be a cause of raising blood pressure.

Drinking plenty of water should help combat this.

If you want to check your blood pressure regularly at home then you can find out lots of information about buying and using home blood pressure monitors at the Blood Pressure Monitoring Website.

29 June 2006

The new UK guidelines to blood pressure medicines and what they mean for you

The new UK guidelines to blood pressure medicines and what they mean for you

If you have high blood pressure and are taking medicines to treat your condition, then this information sheet is for you. It contains information about the latest UK guidelines for treating high blood pressure and how this may affect you.


UK guidelines published in June 2006 have given new advice on which medicines should be used to treat high blood pressure.

One group of older medicines, beta-blockers, which have previously been used as a first choice of treatment for high blood pressure is no longer to be routinely used, except in a few special situations.

Taking newer medicines to treat high blood pressure significantly reduces the risk of having a stroke when compared with beta-blockers. They are also less likely to cause diabetes when compared with beta-blockers.

Your doctor may change your treatment if you are currently taking a betablocker.

Do not stop taking your medications suddenly or without consulting your doctor or nurse.

These new guidelines are a collaboration between the two UK organisations that publish guidelines on high blood pressure. This means that there is now one very clear pathway for health professionals and their patients to follow when choosing medicines.

Guidelines to follow.....view pdf

11 May 2006

High blood pressure during pregnancy

If you have high blood pressure and are planning to have a baby or if you are already pregnant and have high blood pressure then this fact sheet is for you. It provides information about prevention and treatment, along with antenatal care and pre-eclampsia.

I already have high blood pressure and am planning to become pregnant. What do I need to know?

If you already have high blood pressure and you and your partner are planning to have a baby you need to talk to your doctor about preparing to conceive. You can, like any other woman, have a successful and healthy pregnancy but if you have high blood pressure you have a slightly greater chance of complications than other women do. For this reason you will need to be more closely monitored than women without high blood pressure.

If at all possible any medicines that you take for high blood pressure will be stopped by your doctor before you become pregnant. You should not become pregnant whilst you are taking atenolol (beta-blocker), ACE Inhibitors or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers as these medications can affect the development of your baby. Therefore it is important that you plan your pregnancy if you can. Examples of ACE inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers are in the table below.

ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers
Captopril, Cilazapril, Enalapril, Fosinopril, Lisinopril, Perindopril, Ramipril, Trandolapril

Candesartan, Eprosartan, Irbesartan, Losartan, Telmisartan, Valsartan

However, some women will have to continue to take tablets for high blood pressure. If this is the case then you may find that your blood pressure falls in the middle of your pregnancy. If this happens, the tablets might be stopped. There are certain medicines that can safely be taken during pregnancy, so if you need to continue to take medications, there are choices available.

Throughout your pregnancy you will need to have your blood pressure checked regularly, at least once a month. Some women find it useful to buy a monitor to use at home, so that they can check their blood pressure levels in between the times when they see their doctor or midwife. Check with your midwife or doctor before you decide to buy a monitor, as home measurement may not be appropriate for everyone. Make sure that you use an accurate and properly validated machine. The BPMonitoring Org has a Free Information sheet, Measuring your Blood Pressure at with accurate approved Blood Pressure Monitors, which contains details of monitors. Contact us if you would like a copy.

I have developed high blood pressure during my pregnancy. What do I need to know?

One in every twenty women will develop high blood pressure whilst they are pregnant. If your blood pressure rises by a small amount and your urine contains no protein, then this is called gestational hypertension. If your blood pressure rises by a large amount, and your urine contains protein then this is called pre-eclampsia. It is now thought that gestational hypertension may be a milder form of pre-eclampsia so careful monitoring is essential.

Pre-eclampsia is caused by a problem with the placenta, which joins mother and baby and supplies the baby with nutrients and oxygen from the mother's blood. It is potentially very dangerous for both mother and baby if it is undetected. The signs and symptoms are a rise in blood pressure and protein in the urine. Sometimes the baby may be slow to grow and the mother may have swollen hands and feet, though there are other things that can cause these symptoms. It is very important that all pregnant women have regular checks by their midwife throughout their pregnancy, so that any problems can be spotted early and dealt with.

If you are found to have pre-eclampsia then you and your baby will be closely monitored. The only way to stop pre-eclampsia is for the baby to be delivered, which can sometimes mean a premature birth. Action on Pre-Eclampsia is an organisation that provides information on pre-eclampsia. Their details are listed at the end of this information sheet if
you would like to know more.

High blood pressure can be treated during pregnancy. Your doctor may ask you to make some changes to your diet, or change your lifestyle and if your blood pressure is very high, may ask you to take medications to lower it. There are medicines that are safe for you and your baby, but you will need to be monitored closely. Your doctor will avoid medications unless there is no alternative.

Methyldopa is the medicine most commonly used to manage high blood pressure during pregnancy. Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and atenolol (a beta-blocker) should not be used during pregnancy. Other beta-blockers, such as labetolol are occasionally used, though there is very little evidence about their effects during pregnancy. Likewise, there is very little information on the use of calcium channel-blockers in pregnancy. If your blood pressure is sufficiently high, then these latter drugs will be used to reduce it.

The Blood Pressure Association has a booklet Medicines for high blood pressure. Contact us for a copy.

If you develop high blood pressure during your pregnancy then it is very important that once the baby is born that you make sure your blood pressure is regularly checked until it returns to its usual level. Blood pressure levels can rise sharply in the days following the delivery of a baby and can continue at high levels for a few weeks. In most women it returns to the same levels as prior to the pregnancy, but it is important to check that this has happened.

Am I more likely to develop pre-eclampsia if I already have high blood pressure prior to becoming pregnant?

If you already have high blood pressure then you have a slightly greater chance of developing pre-eclampsia in another pregnancy. Your doctor and midwife will closely monitor your blood pressure and then treat your blood pressure if it starts to rise.

There is no way of preventing pre-eclampsia, though you should eat a healthy diet (low in salt and saturated fats and high in fruit and vegetables) throughout your pregnancy, to ensure that you and your baby are healthy.

I had high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy. What do I need to know?

High blood pressure in a previous pregnancy does not necessarily mean that you will have it again in a later pregnancy, though you do have a slightly greater chance of having it than a woman who has never had a raised blood pressure. Many women who have high blood pressure during pregnancy have a normal blood pressure in later pregnancies.

There has been some research which suggests that women who have high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy may be more likely to have a stroke or heart disease much later in life. It is important for everyone to know what their blood pressure is and to make sure that it is checked regularly so that any rise in your blood pressure can be picked up and treated when necessary. If you have had pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure during a pregnancy, it is even more important that you have your blood pressure checked as you grow older, ideally every year.

Can I breast feed my baby if I am taking medicines for high blood pressure?

There is some evidence that atenolol gets into breast milk, although this has affected the baby in just two cases. All other medicines for high blood pressure are safe in breast feeding, but in general doctors are keen to avoid using medicines in women who breast feeding. You should make sure that your doctor knows if you intend to breast feed.

Need to know more?
Your midwife, obstetrician or doctor can help with more information

02 April 2006

Home blood pressure monitoring improves hypertension control

Patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) who monitor their blood pressure at home have better control of their condition, according to a new study published today at www.bmj.com by the BMJ. The study by Professor Francesco Cappuccio of the Department of Community Health Sciences, at St George's Hospital Medical School, will also be presented at the European Society of Hypertension in Paris.

Professor Cappuccio and his team of researchers analysed 18 blood pressure monitoring studies involving nearly 3000 people with hypertension. A total of 1359 monitored their blood pressure at home, while 1355 had their blood pressure monitored in the healthcare system.

They found that blood pressure was lower in people who had home blood pressure monitoring than in those who were seen in the healthcare system. A greater proportion of them also achieved blood pressure targets when assessed in the clinic.

"Although the reasons for this are not clear, blood pressure monitoring by patients at home is associated with better blood pressure values and improved control of hypertension than usual blood pressure monitoring in the healthcare system", Professor Cappuccio says.

"As home blood pressure monitoring is now feasible, acceptable to patients and generally reliable, it could help to involve patients more closely in the management of their own blood pressure and help to manage their hypertension more effectively", the authors conclude.

Find out more about home blood pressure monitors.

01 January 2006

Ways to lower high blood pressure

High Blood Pressure Treatment Starts with You

While high blood pressure (also know as hypertension) is a serious health problem, there’s good news. No matter what your age or physical condition, there are things you can do to prevent high blood pressure.

Here we offer these 8 tips to help you prevent high blood pressure, or reduce your blood pressure if it’s already a problem.

Are you overweight? Lose weight.

Maintaining a healthy weight (see your doctor about this) will help prevent high blood pressure.

Getting back to a healthy weight is not as hard as it sounds. You can start by limiting the portion size of your meals and snacks, and cut way back on high calorie foods.

If you eat as many calories as you burn each day, you’ll maintain your weight. Eating fewer calories than you burn will help you lose weight. And losing weight will help lower your blood pressure.

When you plan meals, think of your heart.

Choose a diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Keep total fat low and avoid foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol.
Having a healthy heart will help prevent blood pressure.

Eat less salt and sodium.

Salt and sodium can increase blood pressure, so it’s important to read food labels. Guidelines suggest limiting sodium intake to no more than 2,400 mg, or about 1 teaspoon of salt each day.
If you eat canned, processed, and convenience foods, buy the brands that are lower in sodium.

If you salt your food at the table, try using less, or none. It may take a little while to get used to the new flavors, but you may find that food tastes better when you use less salt.

Fast food can contain a lot of sodium, so if you eat fast food choose items that are lower in salt and sodium. Reducing your salt intake will help to prevent high blood pressure.

If you drink alcohol, practice moderation.

Guidelines recommend that men have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women have no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.

Increase your physical activity.

Exercise is a key factor in preventing high blood pressure.
If you get very little exercise now, start slowly and work your way up to at least 30 minutes of a moderate-level activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling, each day. If time is a factor, you’ll still benefit by breaking the 30 minute daily exercise periods into 10 or 15 minute sessions.

Stop smoking.

Research shows that smoking increases your chances of developing a heart disease, stroke, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, and several forms of cancer.

Talk with your doctor or health care professional.

Learn what your blood pressure reading means to your health, and if medication is recommended for you to treat or prevent high blood pressure.

If your doctor prescribes medication, take it.

It’s important to understand:

what your blood pressure medication is expected to do for you

how to take your medication, and when

if your blood pressure medication has any side effects

if the blood pressure medication is safe to take with any other prescriptions or vitamins you are already taking
If you have high blood pressure and treatment is prescribed, don't be afraid to ask questions or get another medical opinion. Once you understand why you’re taking the medication, follow the recommended dose.

But the best way to treat high blood pressure is to prevent high blood pressure from becoming a problem. These tips, plus advice from your health care provider, can help you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.