The importance of knowing your blood pressure was highlighted during World Hypertension Day on May 17.
Swift Current’s Pharmasave was one of the over 1,000 pharmacies across Canada offering blood pressure screening during Wednesday’s international education and awareness event.
Pharmacist Leah Perrault conducted a number of blood pressure tests during the day. She explained that because hypertension frequently has few symptoms, many people do not frequently have their blood pressure checked.
“Often times people may have high blood pressure and not know that they do. It doesn’t have a lot of symptoms that show up,” she said.
“Know what you should be aiming for. If you have high blood pressure you want to keep it under 130/90 typically. 120/80 is a typical normal blood pressure.”
Hypertesnion Canada estimates that 7.5 million Canadians live with high blood pressure, so hypertension is certainly a widespread health issue among adults aged 40 and over.
“If you don’t manage your blood pressure it can lead to heart attacks or strokes, that’s the biggest thing that we want to help prevent,” Perrault said while stressing that people should monitor their blood pressure on a regular basis.
For those individuals dealing with high blood pressure, there are ways of managing it and keeping it under control.
“Hypertension is managed through healthy lifestyle… eating a healthy diet, trying to limit sodium intake; being mindful of exercising, trying to be as active as possible; smoking, stop smoking can help your blood pressure. Those lifestyle things, along with weight control, are very important.”
“Often times people will need medications for high blood pressure, so speaking to your doctor and getting the appropriate medications for you is another way to manage blood pressure.”
While most people have their blood pressure checked during every doctor visit, she reminds people to randomly check their numbers or if they feel they are at high risk. Most pharmacies have blood pressure cuffs that can be used at any time.
“It’s a great place to come and take your blood pressure and then talk to your pharmacist about those numbers and make sure that you’re OK, or what you need to do if they’re not looking good,” she said.
“And of course the blood pressure medications come from your pharmacists, and we can talk to you about the best ways to take them, what to expect with those medications. Pharmacists are a front line healthcare professional who can definitely answer all sorts of questions about this condition and many others.”