One-third of people in America suffer from high blood pressure. This is a dangerous condition that can lead to heart disease or strokes. But did you know that only 54% of people who suffer from high blood pressure have their condition under control?
Fortunately, it’s possible to keep an eye on your blood pressure using blood pressure screening. For this to work properly, you should go in for regular BP tests.
Not sure how often you need to go in for a screening or the best place to go? No worries! Read on to find out everything you need to know about getting a blood pressure test.
Why is Blood Pressure Screening Important?
As we’ve already mentioned, high blood pressure is a common condition for people all over America. This can have serious implications for your health if left untreated.
Your blood pressure measures how hard your blood pushes its way through the body. Specifically, it looks at how hard the blood pushes against your artery walls as it travels.
If your blood pressure is normal then this won’t put any strain on your arteries. However, high blood pressure can put a lot of strain on your body and this can be very dangerous. High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, can lead to any of the following:
- heart disease
- heart failure
- kidney disease
- heart attacks
- peripheral arterial disease
- vascular dementia
- aortic aneurysms
Having low blood pressure can also have an effect on your health although this is often less dangerous than high blood pressure. Having low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy or even lead to fainting. This can be dangerous as fainting could lead to more serious injuries, such as head injuries.
Fortunately, it’s possible to treat high or low blood pressure easily if you catch them early. You can do this in a number of ways, such as using medication or by changing your diet!
But if you don’t know about your condition there’s very little you can do about it. That’s why getting a regular blood pressure check can make all the difference to your long-term health.
What Happens at a Blood Pressure Screening Test?
A blood pressure test only takes a matter of minutes and your doctor can easily carry it out.
To do this, they’ll use a blood pressure monitor. These can either be manual or electronic.
A blood pressure monitor features a cuff, which they will place around your upper arm. This then inflates, making it tighten around your arm.
Once the cuff has tightened around your arm, the doctor or nurse will let the air out of the cuff gradually. This doesn’t take long at all.
What Do the Results Mean?
The results from your screening are presented using two numbers, which appear as one over the other. These measure two types of pressure:
- The pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat
- The pressure when your heart is resting between beats.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or more then you have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure sits around 120/80 or lower. 90/60 is too low a blood pressure.
Some people’s blood pressure sits between normal and high. This is also known as elevated blood pressure or prehypertension. For example, having a blood pressure of 130/85 means you have prehypertension.
How Often Should You Go for a Test?
Your blood pressure can change over time, so it’s important to get it checked regularly. This means that you’re likely to catch a change before it becomes dangerous.
As you get older, you’re more likely to suffer from high blood pressure. This means you’ll need to go in for testing more regularly. Anyone over the age of 40 should go for a blood pressure screening once a year.
Between 18 and 40 you can afford to go less often. During this period it’s a good idea to go for a screening every three to five years.
Certain people fall into the high-risk category before the age of 40. This includes:
- African Americans
- People who are obese or overweight
- People who aren’t active enough
- People who drink too much
- People who didn’t follow a healthy diet
- People who suffer from kidney failure, heart disease or diabetes
- People with a family history of high blood pressure
- People who don’t get enough sleep
- People who consume too much caffeine
If you fall into any of these categories it’s a good idea to check your blood pressure checked more frequently. Speak to your doctor to find when to check your blood pressure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure to Look Out For
Going for a regular high blood pressure test is a good way to stay on top of your body’s health. However, you can back this up by keeping an eye out for symptoms of high blood pressure between tests.
- severe headaches.
- disturbed vision.
- chest pain.
- fatigue and confusion.
- trouble breathing.
- an irregular heartbeat.
- blood in your urine
- a pounding noise in your chest, neck or ears.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to go for a blood pressure screening as soon as possible. This will make sure you can get on top of it before it causes any serious damage!
Treating High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, treating high blood pressure is relatively easy. And the earlier to catch it the more likely you are to reverse the effects of it.
The type of treatment your doctor prescribes depends on a couple of things including how high your blood pressure is and what is causing it.
For example, if your diet and lifestyle are causing your high blood pressure you may be able to remedy this by making changes to these. If you have a family history of high blood pressure a doctor may prescribe medication to help lower this.
In some cases, your doctor will prescribe a combination of treatments to lower your blood pressure.
The Bottom Line
Leaving high blood pressure untreated can have serious and even life-threatening consequences. Luckily, you can keep an eye on yours by going for regular blood pressure screening. It really is that simple!
For more information on this, get in touch to speak to one of our team today. We’re here to help!