NPN | Blood Pressure

A surprising number of people in the UK are living with high blood pressure - as many as one in four of us aren’t aware that we’re at risk of heart attack and stroke. After all, it’s not really something you can feel, so it’s easy to be unaware of it until you have your blood pressure measured. Knowing your blood pressure could save your life, but if you don’t have the time to visit your GP, it’s difficult to know where you can get a blood pressure test.

At any age, you can request a blood pressure reading from your GP, but many pharmacists are also trained to provide this service from the privacy of their private consulting room. Your local pharmacist may be able to measure your blood pressure and discuss your results with you in confidence, recommending any further action you might need to take depending on the results of your reading, and pointing you in the direction of support and advice if you need it.

For people over 40, blood pressure checks are available at many pharmacies with no appointment necessary - just pop into your local pharmacy and you’ll spend 10 to fifteen minutes with a trained member of the pharmacy team.

When you get your blood pressure measured at your local pharmacy, you’ll be asked to sit in the primary consultation room after signing a consent form to take part in the service. Your local pharmacist will place a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm. The cuff will inflate, squeezing your arm for approximately 30 seconds - just long enough for your blood pressure reading to show on the monitor. Your local pharmacy team has been trained to discuss your reading with you and explain what the numbers mean.

If your blood pressure reading is high, the test may be conducted again to make sure, and then your pharmacist will help you make an appointment with your GP to discuss the next steps you should take in order to reduce your risk of high blood pressure.

There are a number of lifestyle factors that you can change to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, including reducing the amount of salt in your food, exercising more, reducing the amount you drink, quitting smoking and getting more sleep. Your community pharmacist will be able to offer advice and support of many of these lifestyle changes, or provide you with information relating to local services designed to help.

When the time comes to arrange a blood pressure check, you might find the process easier than you think. It’s straightforward to make an appointment at your local pharmacy, so get in touch with your community pharmacist or pop in for a conversation.