What is blood pressure?
It is the force that your heart needs to push blood around your body. High blood pressure (hypertension) is when the force being used by your heart is higher than recommended, which puts more strain on your heart and blood vessels. This increases the risk that a blood vessel may give way, which could result in a stroke, heart attack, eyesight problems or kidney damage.
How can I lower my blood pressure?
Making changes to what you eat and how much you exercise can reduce blood pressure:
- Keep to a healthy weight. Eat a balanced diet with at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Reduce portion size, cut down on fatty and sugary food, fast food, processed meat, alcohol, and reduce salt.
- Get more active. Aim to do activities for 30 minutes five times a week that raise your heart beat, and exercise that strengthens muscles twice a week.
- Stop smoking. The local stop smoking service can help you.
You can also contact our Health Coaches if you’d like support with any of these.
Why should I measure my blood pressure at home?
Many people find that their blood pressure goes up if they are in a stressful or unfamiliar setting such as the doctor’s surgery. Recent evidence shows that measuring blood pressure at home is safe, effective and:
- Gives more accurate, consistent and lower results
- Can confirm whether you do have high blood pressure
- Should you need to take medication to bring your blood pressure down, measures how well your treatment is working and how you respond to medication changes
What equipment do I need to measure my blood pressure?
Over the last few years home blood pressure monitors have become cheaper and more reliable. The British Hypertension Society has a list of validated machines with guide prices. We would recommend that you choose a machine from the following list that measures upper arm readings: https://bihsoc.org/bp-monitors/for-home-use/
How do I measure my blood pressure at home?
The blood pressure machine will have instructions. You need to take 2 readings each morning and evening for 7 days, and fill the numbers into the following ‘Home Blood Pressure diary’.
Sit down at a table, in a quiet environment with your arm rested in front of you.
- Take 2 morning readings before medication. Wake up – put on cuff – 5 minutes rest – take the 1st reading and record – 1 minute rest – take 2nd reading and record.
- Take 2 evening readings just before you go to bed. Put on cuff – 5 minutes rest –take 1st reading and record – 1 minute rest – take 2nd reading and record.
When you have finished the sheet take it along, or email a copy (firstname.lastname@example.org) to the surgery.
How else can I get my Blood Pressure checked?
If you cannot access a blood pressure machine at home, you have several options.
- You could use our self-check Health Kiosk in the surgery waiting room
- You could book an appointment via the reception team to have your blood pressure checked – this could be at the surgery or at our extended access hub in Comberton if you need an evening or weekend appointment.
- Many Community Pharmacies are able to provide a blood pressure monitoring service