Thursday, February 17th, 2022
How often should you record your blood pressure (BP) when you pass the grand old age of 40?
The NHS website has a section dedicated to hypertension which is a great starting point to learn more.
The NHS website advises that you should get your BP checked at least every 5 years once you reach the age of 40. The Stroke Association website advises all adults to check at least once every 5 years, preferably more often. In the UK alone there could be 5.5 million people living with untreated hypertension. We have over 100,000 strokes in the UK per year. When you think about the number of people living with untreated hypertension, this number of 100,000 strokes every year becomes more understandable.
Where do you get your BP measured?
There are many chemist/pharmacies now starting to do free BP recordings. You can purchase a sphygmomanometer, yes a great word for spelling competitions, from as little as twenty pounds. Then home testing becomes a good option. How often should you test your blood pressure at home, I do not know the correct medical advice for that question, do you?
Twenty pounds to potentially alert you to a condition that causes heart attacks, strokes and many more medical problems. Having worked in stroke rehabilitation for more than 25 years, I believe once every 5 years is not enough. I keep challenging people to find out where this “once every 5 years” information comes from. Is it based on longitudinal studies of large populations or just a figure randomly plucked out of the ether that seems sensible to the public? About 50% of all strokes are because of hypertension, imagine 50,000 less strokes in the UK alone every year.
Be proactive, ask your friends who are over 40 who do not work within the medical rehabilitation world, how often do you get your BP tested and why? More importantly, if you are over 40 and can’t remember when you last checked your blood pressure, maybe today is good.
Once you know your numbers, if you are not sure what they mean, Blood Pressure UK is great resource. They have a Blood Pressure chart that will help explain, Click Here to view. As always, seek medical advice if you are unsure or have concerns.
Musings from Glyn Blakey, Chartered Physiotherapist.