High blood pressure is not known as the silent killer for nothing, as although it is a primary cause of heart disease, heart attack and stroke, it does not usually produce any symptoms that are easy to spot with the naked eye. for more information about what constitutes high blood pressure readings please refer to this related article on blood pressure terminology.
Historically, high blood pressure has been initially diagnosed in people aged in their late forties, early fifties or sixties. However due to the pressure of modern living, stress, lack of exercise and diets that are high in saturated fat, the age at which raised blood pressure starts to appear has been falling steadily.
In some cases the problem is so severe that young people who are addicted to high fat fast food diets, TV and video games from an early age, have been developing high blood pressure in their twenties and thirties.
If you are concerned about your heart health then you may wish to start monitoring your blood pressure at home on a regular basis, in consultation with your doctor.
This is very important as you should never try to interpret the results yourself, or become your own ‘physician’.
There are several advantages to the concept of home blood pressure monitoring:
- Blood pressure varies naturally throughout the day
- Most people don’t visit their doctor just to get their blood pressure checked
- When you do visit the doctor’s office to have your blood pressure checked it is a one-off reading, a snapshot in time
- The act of visiting the doctor in itself can adversely affect your actual blood pressure reading
- Home blood pressure monitoring equipment has improved greatly in recent years
- Home monitoring allows you to take multiple readings each day to give a more accurate result in a relaxed environment
- Home monitoring allows you to spot an early rising trend in your BP before it becomes a severe problem
- If you identify a rising BP over several months you can take remedial action in conjunction with your doctor
How often should you take blood pressure readings?
There is no fixed rule about this, but you may consider taking two or three readings per day. You should take your blood pressure readings at the same time each day, and keep a daily log of the results. This is important to identify long term trends and will help your doctor to understand more about your condition should you identify a potential problem.
What type of blood pressure monitor should I buy?
We prefer the type of blood pressure monitor that has a cuff that attaches to the upper part of the arm, inflates itself automatically, and quickly shows the result on a digital display.
There are so many different varieties of this type of consumer blood pressure monitors available that the choice can be overwhelming. Our recommendation is that you use an Omron automatic blood pressure monitor. This company has been around for many years and has a solid reputation for producing accurate and reliable instruments. The automatic inflation type makes the process very simple and easy to use.
By learning to understand what causes stroke, and recognise stroke signs and symptoms you could save the life of a loved one or family member.
This follows the recent death of a 48 year old British man – Jeffrey Wingrove, a former marathon athlete, who died from the stroke injury and the complications resulting from the delays by a United Kingdom healthcare provider’s out-of-hours on-call doctors. Despite repeated requests for assistance from the man’s wife, they failed to correctly diagnose the symptoms of stroke on three separate occasions.
What happened ?
This is a brief summary of the key events in this medical emergency. Not all details have been included for the sake of brevity :-
- Jeffery Wingrove collapsed after suffering from severe headaches, sweating and vomiting
- He managed to crawl to his bedroom, but was unable to move his right side easily – showing symptoms of a right stroke
- His wife called the doctor, but was referred to an alternative doctors office who were handling local requests for advice during the the night time
- Mrs Wingrove requested a home visit as her husband was too unwell to get out of bed, and he was too heavy for her to move
- On two occasions, doctors from the company declined to visit the patient at his home
- They advised her to collect a prescription for pain killing medication from a local pharmacy
- Eventually Mrs Wingrove called paramedics, who took the patient to Broomfield hospital in Braintree, United Kingdom, then transferred him to neurosurgical ward at Queen’s Hospital in Romford
- Despite having emergency surgery at the hospital he died from the stroke damage to his brain
- The total elapsed time from the man starting to feel unwell to his death was less than 48 hours
What lessons can be learned from this tragedy ?
We at Lower Blood Pressure sympathise whole heartedly with the Wingrove family, however we exist to educate, inform and hopefully help you – our readers – to avoid any repeat of this unfortunate, and we believe, avoidable episode in your own lives and families. So what what can we learn from this sad story ?
We must educate ourselves to know how to quickly recognise the stroke signs and symptoms. This is the most important factor in helping to save the life of a husband or a wife or an elderly relative. Because Mrs Wingrove did not know that her husband was displaying signs of a stroke, she attempted to contact the family’s doctor, rather than the emergency services.
We have a feature article all about Stroke, and how you can recognise the symptoms – you can find it here – it explains all about the FAST (Face – Arm – Speech ) test, which is the most effective way to diagnose the early signs of the onset of stroke.
We must act quickly if we suspect that any ONE of the FAST symptoms described above is present in the patient. It is absolutely essential to CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY, as this may save vital time in getting the proper treatment to the patient, which is best given at a hospital or ER Center.
Stroke symptoms awareness and fast treatment are key to stroke survival
Although the family have taken out and won a law suit, and received substantial compensation in an out-of-court settlement over Mr Wingrove’s treatment, the fact remains that he could possibly have survived this stroke damage. If everyone involved in the management of this man’s illness had had a greater awareness of this devastating life threatening condition, he may have been diagnosed and treated more quickly, and may have been alive today.