HEALTH MOVEMENT For a healthier Finland ONE LIFE BLOOD PRESSURE IS TOP PRIORITY A guide to blood pressure that includes home monitoring instructions and a monitoring chart Protect your brain, know your blood pressure MEASURE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE AND TAKE ACTION ACCORDINGLY Elevated blood pressure can be Our brain cells regenerate throughout our lives. The brain’s ability to adapt and recover from various forms of damage has proved to be greater than once believed. There is one thing, however, that the brain cannot withstand, and that is high blood pressure. treated. It is important, therefore, to know where your blood pressure stands. If you know your blood pressure numbers, you can act accordingly. If your blood pressure is high, it must come down. There are ways to do so: lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication. If your blood pressure is normal or can be controlled with High blood pressure does not cause detectable medication, it is still important to symptoms, but it relentlessly stresses the brain, 24 monitor your blood pressure reg- hours a day, and in the worst-case scenario, for years. ularly. This will keep you in the The pressure causes brittleness and a build-up of know as you get older and your fatty matter in the blood vessels of the brain. life situation changes. If there is no relief, somewhere in the brain a blood vessel will reach its limit and rupture. Or, the pressure will cause fatty deposits to collect on the walls of the blood vessel, eventually blocking it entirely. This is how cerebral infarctions and strokes, the greatest risk factor for which is elevated blood pressure, occur. Seven out of ten people who have suffered a cerebral infarction have had a blood pressure reading higher than the recommended level. If you do not measure your blood pressure yourself, have it done at a health-care centre. At-home monitoring Avoid intense physical activity and cigarette smoking, and do not drink coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure. Do not take your blood pressure right after a meal; wait 30 minutes after eating. 1. Sit at a table. 2. Rest your arm on the table at a 90 degree angle. 3. Slide the cuff onto your bare arm, just above the elbow. The cuff is sufficiently tight if you can fit a finger in between the cuff and your upper arm. 4. Relax for 5 minutes and press the start button to begin the reading. 5. Do not talk or move during the reading. 6. Repeat the measurement 1–2 minutes after the first reading. Write down the numbers. 7. Calculate the average of the two measurements if you wish. 8. Measure day and night! Initially, measure every day for a full week; thereafter, four days at a time is enough. If your blood pressure is often higher than 135/85 mmHg when you measure it at home, be sure to tell your health nurse, occupational health nurse or doctor about it. You can lower your blood pressure yourself Recognise the symptoms of cerebral infarction and stroke: Important in home monitoring: •• Don’t do hard work or eat just before measuring. •• Slurred speech or difficulty finding the right words. Reduce your sodium intake. Opt for unsaturated fats. •• Drooping on one side of the mouth. •• Impaired movement or sensation in the limbs on one side of the body. •• Impaired vision. Be active every day. Quit smoking. Lose weight if you are overweight. If you or someone close to you displays one or more symptoms, call 112 immediately. Take blood pressure medication if you need it. Eat at least half a kilo of vegetables, fruit and berries a day. •• Set the cuff around your upper arm, with a finger’s width of space in between the cuff and your skin. •• Do not talk or move during the reading. •• Measure a second time after 1–2 minutes. •• Sudden and severe headache. 112 Drink alcohol in moderation. •• Rest your arm at a 90 degree angle. Blood pressure monitoring chart DATE 1st reading pulse 2nd reading pulse korvaamatonkovalevy.fi If your blood pressure is often higher than 135/85 mmHg when you measure it at home, be sure to tell your health nurse, occupational health nurse or doctor about it.