Worldwide hypertension is the leading risk factor for premature death, stroke and heart disease and over 25% of adults in the UK have hypertension.
The challenge with hypertension is that often patients remain without symptoms for a significant period of time so the only way to know if you have hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked. At both Cuckfield and The Vale surgeries we have blood pressure machines in the waiting room which you can use, these provide a print off of your results which you can provide to reception.
If you are diagnosed with Hypertension then you will likely be started on medication and advised regarding a number of factors you can do to improve your health.
Risk factors include that you as a patient may be able to change include:
- Excess weight
- Excess dietary salt intake
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol intake
You can self refer to local services through Mid-Sussex Wellbeing and they may be able to facilitate you to make some of these changes https://midsussex.westsussexwellbeing.org.uk
Risk factors that you cannot change include:
- Older age
- Family History
Once you are diagnosed and started on medication then we aim to have an up to date blood pressure reading every 6 months – it’s not good enough just to be on medication the aim should be that your blood pressure reading is less than 140/90mmHg; if this is not the case please make an appointment in surgery to discuss changes to medication.
White Coat Hypertension
If you find that your blood pressure reading in surgery is always higher than your home readings then it may be you struggle with white coat hypertension. The best way to overcome this and ensure you are not over treated is to have a machine at home. Take 2-3 readings twice daily for 7 days and provide these to the surgery.
Monitoring in Hypertension
If you are treated for hypertension your blood pressure should be less than 140/90mmHg.
It is important that we know and check you are on the appropriate dose of medication. We therefore ask that patients provide up to date readings every 6 months as you will not receive the health benefits of being treated if your blood pressure is above target. These readings can either be taken in reception (*see below) or provided from home readings.
*Due to infection control reasons in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to offer blood pressure checking facilities in the waiting rooms at both Cuckfield and the Vale.
However, we recognise the importance in ensuring our patients are on the appropriate doses of medication to be effective at controlling their blood pressure. Due to the demand for appointments and again infection control measures, it is not possible to offer nurse appointments for blood pressure checks.
As a result, we are suggesting that patients who are on medications for high blood pressure to consider investing in a home blood pressure machine. These can be used to help with regular monitoring of blood pressure, helping to ensure that your blood pressure is treated to the recommended targets and that you are on the correct dose of medication.
Home blood pressure machines can be purchased from local pharmacies, or on-line, and cost from as little as £20. We would recommend using one with an upper arm cuff as opposed to a wrist monitor. In surgery we use the OMRON branded machines but most pharmacies offer a wide range of machines and own brands which would be appropriate.
In addition there are some medications that you will be prescribed that require additional monitoring.
If you are prescribed:
- Ace-Inhibitor (Ramipril, Lisinopril, Captopril)
- Angiotensin Receptor Blocker (Losartan, Valsartan)
- Diuretic (Indapamide, Furosemide, Bendroflumethiazide)
These all require blood tests to check your kidney function on an annual basis and with every dose increase. Occasionally these can adversely affect the kidneys or your Potassium levels and thus it is important these are undertaken.