High or Low Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure (hypertension):

High Blood pressure is one of the main causes of heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure can also damage the eyes and the kidneys. In most cases, hypertension is what is known as a silent disease as it will produce no symptoms even while it is damaging the body. This is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked periodically even if you feel fine.

High blood pressure generally develops over many years and it affects almost everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected and once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.

Checking your blood pressure is a quick and painless procedure with an at home blood pressure monitor. A cuff is wrapped around the upper arm and this cuff is then inflated and slowly deflated, allowing your blood pressure to be read.

Signs of sudden, severe high blood pressure may include:

  • headaches
  • sweating
  • rapid pulse
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • sleeplessness
  • visual disturbances.

If your BP reading is consistently above 140/90 (on more than three occasions while you are at REST),  then please approach your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

Low Blood Pressure (hypotension):

Low blood pressure of under 100/60 might need investigation by the doctor. At this level oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood may not be reaching all the body’s tissues.

This may lead to symptoms such as:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Blackouts
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Rapid shallow breathing
  • Cold clammy pale skin

In many instances, low blood pressure isn’t serious. If you have consistently low readings but feel fine your doctor is likely to monitor you during routine exams.

Even occasional dizziness or light-headedness may be a relatively minor problem the the result of mild dehydration from too much time in the sun for example.
However it’s important to see your doctor if you experience any signs or symptoms of hypotension because they sometimes can point to more-serious problems. It can be helpful to keep a record of your symptoms, when they occur and what you were doing at the time.


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