Advice for people managing High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) at home

It is not clear why people with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing complications if they contract COVID-19, so it is important to follow all the recommended advice on staying safe and take any heart medication your doctor has prescribed.

You have high blood pressure when your blood pressure readings are more than 140 over 90 consistently over several readings. When on treatment for high blood pressure the target for most people is to have a blood pressure below 130/80mmHg particularly if you have had a cardiac event or stroke; have other risk factors; or have diabetes.

High blood pressure is very common in Ireland and by taking control of your blood pressure you can make a positive step towards reducing your overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. You can do this following the medical advice you are given by your doctor, having regular check-ups, taking your medication as prescribed and making positive lifestyle changes.

Many people also like to monitor their blood pressure themselves using a home blood pressure monitor. The British & Irish Hypertension Society publishes the only independent, validated blood pressure monitors for home use, not governed by commercial interest. For a full list of validated blood pressure monitors, click here, or here is Croí’s short-list of recommended blood pressure monitors:

  • A&D UA-705: Upper Arm
  • A&D UA-704: Upper Arm
  • Omron M2 Compact (HEM-7102-E): Upper Arm
  • Omron M2 Basic (HEM-7116-E) (Derivative of M3-I (HEM-7051-E)): Upper Arm
  • Omron M7 (HEM-780-E): Upper Arm

The following video outlines how to measure your blood pressure using a validated monitor to ensure it is recorded accurately.

For more information on High Blood Pressure, click here.

Croí Marks World Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Day in Mayo

The Croí Third Age Mayo project, which aims to promote healthy cardiovascular ageing, will mark World Hypertension Day (May 17) with a free public webinar with expert speakers discussing how participants can manage their high blood pressure. The webinar will take place lunchtime on Thursday, May 20 from 1-2 pm with expert speakers including, Prof Bill McEvoy, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway; Dr Barry McDonnell, Cardiovascular Physiologist, Cardiff Metropolitan University; and Dr Gerry Molloy, Health Psychologist, NUI Galway. Register for free here.

In a separate initiative from May 17, Croí Third Age Mayo will partner with ten local pharmacies as part of a blood pressure measurement pilot programme. This initiative will see free blood pressure checks offered throughout the week to people over 55 years of age who have not had their blood pressure checked in the past year. Members of the public found to have high blood pressure will be offered advice and information, as well as the opportunity to take part in a free blood pressure management programme, delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team.

The pharmacies participating in the pilot programme are Molloy’s Pharmacy in BallinaCrossmolina, Ballaghaderreen and Achill, Treacy’s Pharmacy in Castlebar, Westport and Ballinrobe, and O’Donnell’s Pharmacy and McVann’s Pharmacy in Westport.

People over 55 years of age interested in a free blood pressure check can simply contact one of the participating pharmacies to book an appointment, which are subject to availability. Further information on Croí Third Age Mayo, and this pilot programme, can be found at croi.ie/third-age-mayo-bp. The blood pressure measurement programme will expand to include more pharmacies in the county with further checks to be held later in the year.

High Rates of High BP

Mayo is among the counties in Ireland with the highest proportion of people over 55 years of age, having almost a third of the population in this age category. Between 30-40% of people in Ireland are unaware that they have high blood pressure. Ireland has one of the highest rates of high blood pressure internationally, but among the lowest levels of diagnosis, treatment and control of the condition.

For Croí Chief Executive, Neil Johnson, this initiative marks the beginning of a county-wide effort to improve our cardiovascular health: “One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been reduced access to routine health checks, with implications for delayed detection and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure. We are delighted therefore to announce this pilot initiative marking World Hypertension Day. Starting with a pilot among these ten pharmacies, our aim is to then spread the blood pressure message far and wide across the county of Mayo in the coming months with other blood pressure management events.”

Own it. Check it. Sort it.

Five Things You Should Know in Taking Control of Your Blood Pressure.

  1. Be informed. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. Left untreated, it can significantly increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
  2. Get checked out. Known as a silent killer, high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So, the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked out.
  3. Know your pressure. If over 55 years, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. The recommended target level for blood pressure is <140/90 mmHg, however, if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or have previously had a stroke, you may be prescribed a lower target.
  4. Minimise the risks. There are steps you can take to lower blood pressure, by maintaining a healthy weight and becoming more physically active, stopping smoking, avoiding added salt, drinking alcohol in moderation, increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables, and learning ways to cope with stress.
  5. You can be treated. If lifestyle measures on their own are not effective in keeping your blood pressure under control, then you may need to take prescribed medications in addition. These are usually for the rest of your life.

FREE Heart Health Checks in Ballina for 65+ year olds

The Key to Healthy Ageing is a Healthy Heart says Croí – Announcing FREE Heart Health Checks for 65+ year olds

Date: Wednesday, November 13th
Location: Great National Hotel, Ballina, Co. Mayo

The key to healthy ageing is a healthy heart. Understandably, ageing naturally causes changes in the heart and blood vessels and these age-related changes often increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. People aged 65+ are much more likely than younger people to develop heart problems, but many of these conditions, if detected and treated early, can be managed so as to significantly reduce their impact on health and longevity.

In today’s world, thanks to medical and technological innovation, we are living longer. By the year 2050, 1 in 5 people worldwide will be over the age of 60 years of age. In fact, for the first time in human history we are close to a time when across the world there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15. The Croí Third Age Programme is focused on our increasingly ageing society and the aim is to ensure that as we live longer we also maintain our health and quality of life. The greatest barrier to this is age-related cardiovascular diseases. That’s why on June 19th, local heart and stroke charity, Croí, is offering free heart health checks at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway.

So, if you are over the age of 65Not attending a cardiologist, and have Not had a heart health check in the past 6 months (e.g., blood pressure check / your heart listened to), then Croí invites you to this special FREE heart health check.

Places are limited and you must register in advance.
Time slots are available from 10.00am – 5.00pm.

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

 

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

FREE High Blood Pressure Check

Do you or someone you know have high blood pressure or are you taking medication to manage blood pressure? If so, you are invited to a FREE Blood Pressure Check and Public Talk by heart expert Dr. Faisal Sharif on Wednesday, July 10th in the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre, Newcastle, Galway.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart problems and stroke. Because there are no obvious symptoms of high blood pressure, very often people assume it’s nothing to worry about. However, high blood pressure needs to be treated and managed so as to avoid a serious heart event or catastrophic stroke.

The Clinical Research Facility, Galway (CRFG), have teamed up with local Heart & Stroke Charity, Croí and the Department of Cardiology, GUH to provide FREE Blood Pressure Checks for those with known high blood pressure or those taking medications to manage their blood pressure. In addition, there is an opportunity to attend a talk by an expert on blood pressure management and treatment, and the opportunity to be involved in clinical trials.

Places are limited – call Croí now on 091-544310 to book your free appointment.

A collaborative initiative by the Clinical Research Facility, Galway (CRFG), supported by Croí, the Department of Cardiology, GUH; and the National University of Ireland, Galway – Supporting research and public education.

Cajun Salmon Salad

Salmon and other oily fish such as mackerel, herring, trout and sardines are a great source of polyunsaturated fats which can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. You should try to include some oily fish in your diet at least once or twice a week. This recipe for Cajun Salmon Salad is a quick and easy lunch or dinner option!

 

 

 

Ingredients – Serves 1:

  • 1 salmon fillet
  • Cajun spice
  • Handful Mixed leaves
  • Handful Green beans
  • 4-5 Asparagus spears
  • ¼ Avocado
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 baby potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped parsley

 

  • Sprinkle some Cajun spice onto the salmon fillet and rub in.
  • Wrap the salmon in tinfoil and bake in the oven at 180C for about 12-15minutes or until cooked.
  • Boil the baby potatoes. When cooked, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and chopped parsley.
  • Boil the green beans and asparagus for a few minutes until cooked.
  • Chop the avocado and tomato into bite size pieces.
  • Mix your salad ingredients together and place your cooked salmon fillet on top.

 

Aisling Harris

Croí Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian 

Chickpea, Avocado and Mango Salad

This is a lovely fruit summer salad, perfect for those hot summer afternoons or evenings. Avocados and nuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats which can help to increase levels of our good cholesterol (HDL). Chickpeas are a good source of soluble fibre which can help lower levels of our bad cholesterol (LDL). Too much bad cholesterol and not enough good cholesterol can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

 

Ingredients – Serves 2:

  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • A few basil leaves
  • 1 dessertspoon olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 Handfuls mixed leaves
  • ½ Avocado
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ Mango
  • 1 Grilled Red Pepper
  • Dessertspoon of toasted nuts and seeds (dry fry some cracked hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds on a frying pan until lightly toasted).

In a bowl, mix together the chickpeas, olive oil, chopped basil leaves and a light sprinkle of sea salt.

Chop the avocado, mango and grilled red pepper into bite-sized chunks.

Assemble all the ingredients together and top with the toasted nuts and seeds.

 

Aisling Harris

Croí Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian 

Salt and Blood Pressure

Salt and Blood Pressure

Question: This is probably a silly question, but if I have low blood pressure do I have to worry about salt? I love salt and use way too much!

 

Answer: Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart beats.

Current guidelines identify normal blood pressure around 120/80mm/Hg. This can vary up and down depending on what you are doing, how you are feeling, whether you are well/unwell, the medications you are taking, what you are eating/drinking, your hydration levels (dehydration can cause low blood pressure) and the time of day.

For many people low blood pressure causes no problems and may be desirable. For some, abnormally low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. Most doctors only consider low blood pressure too low if it causes symptoms because what is low for one person may be normal for another.

Without knowing any medical background it is difficult to advise but in general we don’t advocate excessive use of salt as there is plenty already in foodstuffs.

In general, guidelines recommend that we should consume no more 4-6g of salt per day. However, it is estimated that on average, Irish people currently consume about 9g per day which is a lot more than they need.

The main sources of salt in our diet are packaged foods and meals eaten out of the home at restaurants or takeaways (65-70%),salt added to home cooking or at the table (15-20%) and salt found naturally in food (15%). Foods that are naturally high sources of salt include cheese, processed meats such as ham and salami, bacon, bread, jars of sauce, crisps, salted nuts, salted crackers, soya sauce etc. It is important that people consume these foods in line with an overall healthy balanced diet. Your GP will be able to advise you about whether you need additional salt in your diet and how this can be achieved safely.

 

For more information on blood pressure see here and other resources are www.HSE.ie and www.INDI.ie