What is Blood Pressure and How Do You Keep It Healthy?

Blood pressure cuff on mans arm

When you have your blood pressure tested it can be difficult to understand the results and how they are going to affect you. We have created the following guide to help you understand what blood pressure is, how to identify if you are in a risk category and how you can maintain a healthy blood pressure.

What is Blood Pressure?

When your heart beats it is pumping blood around your body and supplying you with oxygen and energy. Blood pressure is the measure of how hard your blood is pushing against the sides of your blood vessels as it flows around your body. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) puts extra strain on your arteries and can lead to many health problems. These include stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease, kidney disease and dementia. Low blood pressure (also known as hypotension) is generally not a concern. However sometimes there can be issues if your blood level becomes unnaturally low, such as dizziness or fainting.

Blood pressure is measured in ‘millimetres of mercury’ (mmHg) and will be made up of two numbers. The first number is your Systolic blood pressure, this is the highest your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure drops to between beats. Ideally your blood pressure should be should be below 140/90mmHg.

What is Healthy Blood Pressure?

The systolic blood pressure (the first number, the highest level when your heart beats) should ideally be between 90 and 140. The diastolic blood pressure (the second number, the lowest level when your heart rests between beats) should be between 60 and 90.

An illustration from The American Heart Association showing how blood pressure is displayed.
An illustration from The American Heart Association showing how blood pressure is displayed.

Why you should monitor your Blood Pressure

It is estimated by the British Heart Foundation that as many as 7 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, this is more than 1 in 4 adults. The symptoms for high blood pressure are subtle and can easily be overlooked. The only way to know your blood pressure is to test it. You should particularly pay attention to this if you are overweight, elderly, have diabetes, are a smoker, are a heavy drinker or if you have a family history of high blood pressure.

The British Heart Foundation recommend that anyone over 40 has a health check with their GP or nurse practitioner. This includes a blood pressure test. You can measure your blood pressure at home or visit your GP if you would prefer them to check this. If you have any concerns with your blood pressure please visit your local GP.

Blood Pressure Monitor and reading.
Blood Pressure Monitor and reading.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure

By keeping your blood pressure low you can reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke. You can lower your blood pressure by having a healthy diet and exercising regularly. A healthy balanced diet should include a variety of fruit and vegetables and be low in fat, sugar, salt and alcohol. Low calories or fad diets are not recommended as your body will not get the required nutrients for you to function efficiently, and you may find you feel lethargic or faint. Your GP may also prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Medication
cogdog/Flickr/CC by 2.0

You don’t have to be an athlete to increase your exercise – simple changes like walking rather than driving, taking the stairs rather than the lift or doing a 15 minute work-out will increase your fitness. There are also lots of fitness activates you can do, such as joining a local club, bowling, or swimming.

The independent charity Drinkaware are working to lower alcohol misuse and harm in the UK. They have been researching the effects of alcohol consumption and advise warn that one of negative health effects from excessive alcohol consumption is hypertension (high blood pressure). Drinkaware recommended we consume less than 14 units a week (spread through out) and have several drink free days. They note that excessive caffeine, lack of exercise and junk food can also lead to high blood pressure. Drinkaware suggest you should aim to cut down if you have more than 4 cups of tea, coffee (or another caffeinated drink) per day. If you are concerned about your blood pressure please visit your GP for a check-up. If needed they can prescribe medication to reduce your blood pressure.

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What Would You Like To See On The Medisave Blog?

 

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What Would You Like To See On The Medisave Blog?

At Medisave we want to give you the best service possible, whether it be the products we sell, low prices, customer service support, or our social media outreach.

Today we are asking you what you would most like to see and read on the Medisave blog. Over the course of 2017 and onward we are looking to make a huge push in our blog posts and make them as relevant as possible to our readers.

With this in mind we have created a poll to get a better idea of what topics and subjects you would like to see. We have several general answers of which you may choose up to two, and we would really value your input!

laptop with blog poll results

While we will certainly be listening to what you – our readers – have to say, we will still vary the type of posts to maintain some variety.  It is important to us to gather information on what topics you would spend your time reading so we can focus on the most popular choices.

Thank you for taking part and voting.  Our goal is to produce quality content related to everything that Medisave is a part of, and who better to decide on favoured content than the people who will be reading it.

What would you like to see more of on the Medisave blog? You may choose up to two answers.

Learn More With the 3M™ Littmann® Stethoscope App

photo of phone using littmann learning app

3M™ Littmann® recently created a video walkthrough of their Learning Institute app, giving you education at your fingertips.

The app, available in the Apple App Store, or Google Play store, gives you exclusive training content on your mobile device that can help you improve your auscultation skills and use your stethoscope more effectively.

learn about auscultation screenshot

 

The app is free to download and includes:
  • Introduction to auscultation best practice
  • One normal heart sound
  • One sample test module
  • One patient assessment module
  • And more!
Fancy Premium?

Purchase a qualify stethoscope from us at Medisave and get PREMIUM access to the app!

Once you have purchased a stethoscope through Medisave, you just need to enter the stethoscopes serial number into the Littmann app and you will receive a larger and more rewarding learning experience.

The qualifying stethoscopes are:

  • Master Cardiology IV
  • Cardiology IV
  • Cardiology III
  • Master Classic
  • Classic III
  • Classic II
  • Electronic 3200/3100

You can also access premium via an in-app purchase of £39.99.

Premium content includes:
  • 25 multiple choice questions regarding auscultation technique and sound formation
  • 10 cardiac auscultations with associated heart sounds. These include multiple-choice tests with scoring and feedback
  • 13 cardiology assessments in a practical examination style including real patient histories and sounds
  • 10 cardiology assessments in a practical examination style, including real patient histories, auscultation sounds and ECG’s.
  • And much more!

My stethoscope screenshot

The learning app is a must have if you own a stethoscope, whether you’re a student or a little more advanced. The app is a great learning tool and one you can go back to keep you on your toes via quizzes and tests included.

Watch the walkthrough here:

Find the qualifying stethoscopes here.

Littmann Cardiology III Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

littmann cardiology iii spare parts

Late in 2015, 3M released their spares range in a handy new kit format. Combining diaphragms, rims and ear tips in one pack. The Littmann Cardiology III Spare Parts Kit is a cost-effective and convenient way of replacing worn-out stethoscope parts.

To learn how to safely swap to your Littmann Cardiology III spare parts, read our guide and watch our video below.

Contents:

Continue reading Littmann Cardiology III Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

Littmann Classic II Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

Littmann Classic II spare parts - the essential guide
In November 2015, 3M brought out their Littmann Spare Parts Kit range for stethoscopes. Since then, we have been asked many times whether it is safe to change diaphragms, rims and earpieces yourself. The answer is a definite yes. To learn how to safely swap to your Littmann Classic II SE spare parts, read this guide and watch our video below.

Contents:

Continue reading Littmann Classic II Spare Parts – The Essential Guide

How to Write a Medical CV

Your CV is possibly the most important piece of paper in your medical career. Your medical CV can open doors to job interviews, create a positive impression with people you’ve never met, or kill your career hopes dead.

The principles of an excellent CV are the same whether you’re a nurse, a doctor, a paramedic or in any other healthcare role. It needs to be clear, concise, highly relevant to the role you’re applying for, and accurate. Continue reading How to Write a Medical CV

Medical Career Paths in the UK

When you’re planning a medical career path, you probably have some idea of where you want to end up. Can you see yourself as a respected GP working closely with the local community, or a paramedic regularly facing crisis situations? Are you drawn more towards research or administrative roles, or regular face-to-face contact with patients and other medical staff?

The diversity of career options in the healthcare sector means there is something for everyone. We’ve put together this guide to medical career paths to help you get a better understanding of the different medical jobs available, and what it takes to achieve some of those roles. Continue reading Medical Career Paths in the UK