High Blood Pressure

Mar 5, 2010

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

I walked up to the house. I rang the door bell. I was there to pick up a girl for our second date. A woman whom I had never seen before opened the door, and slapped me across the face. I was shocked and didnt know what to do. To this day, my sister-in-law swears there was a mosquito on my face. Perspective. It is amazing how a point of view can change how we look at something.

My sister-in-law and I also have different perspectives on our professions. My sister-in-law is an early childhood educator. She likes to brag that during early childhood educator awareness week the board of her daycare in Winnipeg buys the workers gifts and spa packages to show the workers their appreciation for all their hard work. Dont get me wrong, I think looking after pre-school children would be very hard, and I dont think I could do it. But, I think if I told my customers they should start bringing me gifts for Pharmacy Awareness Week (PAW), I think they would go to another pharmacy. So for Pharmacy Awareness Week, let me give you a gift. Lets get some new perspective on high blood pressure.

We all know that having high blood pressure is bad. It increases your chance of having heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and a variety of other conditions. The World Health Organization estimates that 7.1 million deaths a year can be attributed to high blood pressure. The WHO also says two thirds of strokes and half the cases of ischemic heart disease are caused by poorly controlled high blood pressure.

The new perspective on high blood pressure lately was in a report released by Stats Canada. In February 2010 they released a very ambitious survey. They actually went out and measured the blood pressure of 5600 Canadians between the ages of 6 and 79 years old between March 2007 and February 2009. This is impressive because most surveys of blood pressure just ask people if they have high blood pressure. We call that kind of survey self reporting. Self reporting surveys often underestimate high blood pressure rates.

So what did the Stats Can survey find? About 1 in 5 of Canadians between 20 and 79 have high blood pressure. That means their systolic blood pressure was above 140, their diastolic was above 90 or they reported to have used a blood pressure medication in the last month. Of the people with high blood pressure, one third had blood pressure that wasnt well controlled. That means 6.6% of the adult population in Canada or about 1.6 million of us have poorly controlled high blood pressure. Mothers Against Drinking and Driving ( MADD) Canada estimates that 1600 of us die and 400,000 of us are injured every year from drinking and driving. That means 4 times as many Canadians are at risk of death and injury from poorly controlled blood pressure than from drinking and driving. This is where your local pharmacist can help.

If you are over 40 and dont know what your blood pressure is, run dont walk to your local pharmacy and have it checked. If you kinda stopped taking that blood pressure pill a couple of months ago, call your pharmacist. Maybe we can help figure out a blood pressure pill that will agree with you better and send a recommendation to your doctor. If you dont think you need that blood pressure pill, come talk to me. I can tell you how much fun you can have with half your body paralyzed due to a stroke.

For Pharmacy Awareness Week, come talk to me about your blood pressure. Let me give you the gift of health information and show you how a new perspective on high blood pressure is better than a slap in the face.

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.


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