A member of the team has asked you to complete home blood pressure readings. This is usually because your blood pressure was raised at the surgery.
Having high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) increases your risk of developing a number of diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. This is why it is important that we identity people with high blood pressure. We know, however, that blood pressures checked in the surgery are not the most accurate readings, as they can be falsely raised for a number of different reasons. By doing your blood pressures at home (when you are the most relaxed), it helps us work out who requires help lowering their blood pressure (this might be by lifestyle changes, or medication).
The surgery has some blood pressure machines they can loan out to help you check your blood pressures at home. Unfortunately, there is currently a waiting list for these machines. Some people decide to buy their own machine, and this can be useful to keep an eye on your blood pressure in the longer-term, to reduce your risk of developing the complications of high blood pressure. For patients who are able, we suggest you consider buying your own machine to promote your long-term health.
If you decide to buy your own machine, you can buy these from most chemists or online. These start at around £20 – please click here for more information. A template for your results can be found here, alternatively this can be collected from nurse reception. Please let the surgery know if you do buy your own machine, so we can take you off the waiting list – which will free up the machines for other people.
If you decide to borrow one of our machines, you can help keep the waiting list down by collecting your machine as soon as possible, starting your readings the day after you get your machine, and promptly returning your machine once you have completed readings for one week.
Once you have handed in your readings, we will check these and contact you if they are raised. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Nurse Reception on 0191 295 8512.
How to Measure your Blood Pressure at Home
One of the most accurate ways to monitor your blood pressure is to do it yourself in a setting like your own home when you are most relaxed. If your blood pressure is found to be raised at the GP surgery, we will arrange for you to have home blood pressure monitoring. This involves measuring your blood pressure twice each morning and evening for 7 days to give an average blood pressure reading.
When taking your blood pressure, it is important to find a quiet place to sit with your back straight, feet on the floor and arm supported. Apply the cuff as indicated so it is snug around the arm, rest for 5 minutes before taking your blood pressure. When taking your reading stay still, relax and don’t talk. Wait 1 minute before taking your second reading. To ensure accurate readings take measurements at the same time of day, ensure your bladder is empty and avoid eating, exercising, or taking medication before your reading.
A template for your results can be found here, alternatively this can be collected from nurse reception. Once you have handed in your readings, we will check these and contact you if they are raised.
If high blood pressure is confirmed, we will discuss lifestyle interventions and potential medications to lower your blood pressure.
What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that affects around 1 in 3 adults in the UK.
For most people, we will diagnose you with high blood pressure if your blood pressure readings are above 140/90 – although in some people this target may be different, for example diabetics or people at risk of falls.
Usually, high blood pressure does not present with any symptoms. It is important we identify people with high blood pressure, it puts extra strain on your heart and other organs. If left untreated it can increase your risk of heart disease, strokes, kidney disease, dementia and circulatory problems.
Lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of having high blood pressure include losing weight, maintaining alcohol intake to within recommended limits, reducing salt intake, exercising regularly, and stopping smoking.
If you wish to have your blood pressure checked why not use our machine in the waiting room. If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, please arrange a routine appointment with a member of the clinical team.