Last week I wrote about the importance of managing your blood pressure in order to keep your heart and vital organs healthy. One of the biggest dangers of hypertension is that it often goes unnoticed until it is too late and serious problems arise. These could include heart failure, a heart attack or kidney failure.
As with my previous blog, I’d like to share some fantastic information that I recently read on Dischem’s website as it pertains to the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?
High blood pressure (HBP) is diagnosed using a blood pressure test. This test will be done several times to make sure the results are correct. If your numbers are high, your doctor may have you return for repeat tests to check your blood pressure over time.
How Is Blood Pressure Tested?
A blood pressure test is easy and painless!
To prepare for the test:
• Don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes for 30 minutes prior to the test. These actions may cause a short-term rise in your blood pressure.
• Go to the bathroom before the test. Having a full bladder can change your blood pressure reading.
• Sit for 5 minutes before the test. Movement can cause short-term rises in blood pressure.
To measure your blood pressure, nurse will use a stethoscope (or electronic sensor), and a blood pressure cuff. Most often, you will sit or lie down with the cuff around your arm as the nurse checks your blood pressure. If he or she doesn’t tell you what your blood pressure numbers are, you should ask. Generally, if there is no problem, they will simply check your BP and move on to the next test in your examination.
Goals of Treatment
The treatment goal for most adults is to get and keep blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg. For adults who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the goal is to get and keep blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg.
Healthy lifestyle habits can help you control HBP. These habits include:
• Following a healthy diet
• Being physically active
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Quitting smoking
• Managing your stress and learning to cope with stress
If you combine healthy lifestyle habits, you can achieve even better results than taking single steps. Making lifestyle changes can be hard. Start by making one healthy lifestyle change and then adopt others. Some people can control their blood pressure with lifestyle changes alone, but many people can’t. Keep in mind that the main goal is blood pressure control. If your doctor prescribes medicines as a part of your treatment plan, keep up your healthy lifestyle habits as they will help you control your blood pressure and hopefully reduce your need for medication.
If you would like to review your health plan and make sure that you are covered for chronic illness, let’s chat soon!