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Boggio Family of Pharmacies

Boggios: A healthy choice for your whole life

 There is some confusion when it comes to high blood pressure. Patients are unsure how high, is too high, and what medications they should be on to treat their high blood pressure.

Your blood pressure consists of two readings. The first number is called the systolic blood pressure. This refers to the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart muscle contracts. The second number is called the diastolic number and refers to the pressure in your vessels when the heart muscle relaxes. If your blood pressure is too high the blood is putting too much force on your arteries as it travels through your body. This high pressure damages the vessels, and can actually cause them to burst leading to a heart attack or stroke. For normal patients with no underlying conditions it is recommended that the systolic number be less then 140, and the diastolic be less than 90. Patents with diabetes or chronic kidney disease should aim for a pressure of less than 130/80.

Achieving optimal pressure can be a challenge for many people. Ideally weight loss and regular exercise are the best first steps to lowering your pressure. Avoiding alcohol caffeine and excessive salt intake can also help. Most of the time patients need to take medication to ensure optimal control.

There are several commonly used medications to help control blood pressure. Many patients need to be on more than one to achieve their target pressure. It is safe and often necessary to be on two or three blood pressure medications. In general patients are on medications from different classes, they all work in different ways. The idea is to attack the problem from different angles to achieve the end result. Some medications work on the kidneys and help to remove excess fluid. Others, work on your heart to slow it down, and still others work on your blood vessels making them less rigid allowing blood to flow through them more easily. Your physician must decide which medication is best for you but in general there are guidelines they can follow in selecting appropriate agents. Patients with diabetes for example should be on a medication called an ace inhibitor, which helps lower blood pressure and is also beneficial for the kidneys. Patients who have had a heart attack are often on a beta blocker which is beneficial for the heart.

Most blood pressure medications are well tolerated by patients with few side effects. However, if you are experiencing a problem with your medication it is worthwhile to talk to your physician as there are several options to choose from.

Fifty percent of Canadians over 65 years old have high blood pressure. Untreated high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. It is important to have your blood pressure monitored. One of the best ways to do this is to have a home blood pressure monitor. Blood pressure readings from home improve blood pressure control. Often when patients visit their physician their pressure is falsely elevated due to nerves and emotions. Sometimes the opposite effect happens and their pressure is lower in the office. Patients who engage in taking their pressure at home are more involved in managing their own care and this leads to better outcomes for these patients.

Home monitoring seems to be the best and easiest way to identify and control high blood pressure. Please come in and talk to one of our home health care team members about a home monitoring machine.

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