Do you know what your blood pressure is? Most Canadians don’t – and that could be a problem, because 22 per cent of Canadians between 18 and 70 years have blood pressure that is too high. More than half of Canadians over the age of 65 have high blood pressure, or hypertension.
43 per cent of people who have high blood pressure do not know it. Hypertension has been nicknamed the “silent killer” because for most people, there are no symptoms.
And knowing that your blood pressure is too high does not translate into better blood pressure. In fact, of the people who are aware, only one in six is receiving treatment that is working well.
What’s the problem with having untreated hypertension? It is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Prolonged hypertension can cause strokes, dementia, heart failure, kidney failure, poor circulation, vision changes and premature death.
And if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to have high blood pressure as someone who does not, raising your risk of heart disease even higher.
The only way to know your blood pressure is to have it checked.
If your blood pressure is high, your doctor will probably want to check it a few times to be sure, since there are many reasons why a person’s blood pressure might be up. Even the time of day can affect a person’s blood pressure.
For some people, just having their doctor take their blood pressure can raise it – this is called “White Coat Syndrome”.
Often, self-monitoring your blood pressure in the privacy and comfort of your own home will give a more accurate picture of what your blood pressure really is.
There are also 24-hour blood pressure monitors that doctors may use to diagnose or rule out hypertension.
The results can also help determine the best time for you to take your medication.
The Cranbrook Wellness Centre is the proud owner of a new 24-hour blood pressure monitor, made possible by a generous donation from a client.
The Wellness Centre also has a Home Blood Pressure Monitor Loan Program that loans people a blood pressure monitor for a couple weeks to help provide a more complete picture of what their blood pressure really is.
This information can help physicians decide if medications are needed, or even working.
People who borrow either the 24-hour Blood Pressure Monitor or a Home Blood Pressure Monitor will also be invited to attend a blood pressure class taught by a nurse and a dietitian.
Topics covered include how to reduce blood pressure through lifestyle and diet, as well as how blood pressure medications work.
For more information about the Cranbrook Wellness Centre’s Home Blood Pressure Monitor Loan Program, 24 hour Blood Pressure Monitor or Blood Pressure Class, please contact the Wellness Centre at 250-489-6414.