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Blood Pressure and Heart Health

A healthy lifestyle is the best way to a healthy heart and blood pressure. Changing your diet to include more fresh fruit and vegetables and less fatty foods is a step in the right direction, as is getting regular exercise. Stopping smoking is another important step you can take as well as reducing stress and alcohol consumption.
image Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Stress and obesity contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD), a general term for a disease of the heart or blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in England and worldwide. A main type of cardiovascular disease is coronary heart disease (CHD). CHD happens when arteries become clogged with fatty deposits of cholesterol and waste substances, causing a restriction in the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and affecting blood pressure.

What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is literally the pressure that your blood creates when pumped around your body by the heart. It is expressed in a reading of two numbers, such as 140/85 which would be said as "140 over 85". The first number is the systolic pressure which is the reading for when the heart beats, or pumps, the blood. The second is the diastolic pressure, the pressure of the blood when the heart is at rest between beats. The numbers are measured in millimetres of displaced mercury, for example 140mmHg over 85mmHg.

Doctors recommend that people over 40 should regularly monitor their blood pressure. However, if you have a condition such as diabetes or have been diagnosed with high blood pressure it is important to monitor regularly whatever your age. Monitoring at home is a great way to achieve constant and accurate levels as some people experience stress when going to their GP or a hospital.

What is a healthy blood pressure?
Blood pressure levels can depend on your age, build and health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has established a standard for these levels without regard to age. It states that a 'normal' level should be below 130/85 and that a high yet safe level is below 140/90. There may be cause for concern if either of these numbers is higher.

When is the best time to monitor?
It is important to remember that your blood pressure changes during the day and seasonally. Take your blood pressure at the same times each day, rest for 15 minutes beforehand and avoid taking a reading after exercise or a hot bath.

Which blood pressure monitor?
There are many monitors on the market and Express Chemist stock a wide range. What's important is that you find a monitor that you are comfortable using. Fortunately most modern monitors have been automated to make their operation simple for anyone. Although you can still purchase manually inflating models, we recommend automated monitors as they are easier and more accurate for the user (in fact automated monitors are used now by GPs and nurses) and give clear readings.

There are two main places to monitor blood pressure from, the wrist and the upper arm. Wrist monitors offer convenience as they can be carried easily and used anywhere without having to remove clothing that may interfere with readings. However, upper arm monitors offer more accurate readings due to the positioning of the cuff on the arm nearer the heart. If you are planning to take regular readings, and can do so at home, the upper arm monitor is more suitable.

When deciding about a monitor you must firstly measure the circumference of your arm at the widest point (the bicep). This size will dictate the size of cuff you will require. Most upper arm monitors come with a medium cuff size of 22-32cms. If you require a larger or smaller cuff you will need to purchase it separately. For a list of cuffs view our accessories.

How can I improve my blood pressure?
Lowering blood pressure can be achieved in many ways:

Diet - Eat less fatty and salty foods and ensure you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. If you are overweight talk to a healthcare specialist about how you can safely lower your weight.

Exercise - Regular exercise is important in keeping the heart healthy and lowering your blood pressure.

Drinking and Smoking - Although a small measure of alcohol can help prevent heart disease too much can be very harmful. Try to keep within the recommended measures, 4 units per day for men and 3 for women. Although smoking does not directly cause high blood pressure it can greatly aggravate conditions associated with high blood pressure such as cardiovascular disease. The best answer is to stop smoking altogether.

If you have a medical condition such as diabetes or heart trouble or have experienced a stroke work closely with your GP on ways you can safely reduce your Blood Pressure. It is important the you consult your doctor or health care professional before undertaking any lifestyle change.
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Heart Health and Blood Pressure Treatments

  • Fish Oil

    Fish Oil

    Fish oil is naturally rich in Omega 3 which have many health benefits and play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart.

  • Aspirin For Blood Thinning

    Aspirin For Blood Thinning

    Aspirin belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and can act as an anti-platelet (blood thinner).

  • Blood Pressure Monitors

    Blood Pressure Monitors

    Blood pressure monitors are an important way of indicating high blood pressure which is often associated with symptoms of, and can be a contributing factor of, heart disease.

  • Oximeters


    Fingertip devices to which read oxygen saturation levels and blood pressure.

  • Fitness Equipment

    Fitness Equipment

    Fitness equipment such as pedometers are a fun way of keeping a count of your daily steps and keeping fit to improve blood pressure.

  • Diet and Fitness

    Diet and Fitness

    Just a few simple changes to diet and fitness can help combat illnesses and encourage a healthy heart.

  • Stop Smoking

    Stop Smoking

    The health benefits of stopping smoking are innumerable as the habit itself narrows the arteries and is responsible for the majority of coronary heart disease cases in people under 50.

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