blood pressure check
Chemists, also known as pharmacists, are typically trained to take blood pressure readings and may even discuss the results with the patient in private.

Chemist (more precisely a druggist or pharmacist) is a colloquial term for individuals who sell prescription drugs at the pharmacy. Chemists do not specialize in chemistry or work in labs.

Pharmacists are typically trained to take blood pressure readings.

  • They can check a person’s blood pressure, ensuring comfort and privacy.
  • The chemists may discuss the results with the patient in private and recommend any additional action based on the results.
  • A certified pharmacist may even advise patients on lifestyle changes and blood pressure medications.

In most cases, chemists use an automatic blood pressure device to record the readings.

10 roles of a chemist or pharmacist

  1. Chemists are uniquely positioned to counsel patients on blood pressure readings because they are medication adherence advocates and patient educators who communicate with both patients and their physicians.
  2. Many pharmacies provide electronic blood pressure monitoring, and some include blood pressure checks during screenings, health fairs, and community outreach.
  3. They advise patients to keep a current record of their blood pressure readings.
  4. They usually explain that knowing their blood pressure numbers is essential even if they are feeling fine.
  5. If their blood pressure is normal, they can work with their doctor to keep it that way. If their blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent organ damage.
  6. They are responsible for ensuring that patients understand the concept of blood pressure and its readings.
  7. They educate patients on the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and what constitutes a normal blood pressure reading.
  8. They advise patients to continue seeing their doctor and follow their treatment plan to keep their blood pressure under control.
  9. They counsel people on lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, exercise, limiting salt intake, and quitting smoking, which can help lower high blood pressure.
  10. They emphasize the importance of continuing blood pressure medications even if the readings are normal after being diagnosed with hypertension.

What is your blood pressure?

Blood pressure levels in individuals are generally regulated in a narrow range. Depending on the patient’s condition (hypertension, kidney dysfunction), it can range from high to normal to low.

There are two numbers associated with blood pressure measurement.

  1. The top number is the systolic pressure, which measures the blood pressure when the heart beats to pump blood out of the heart and around the body.
  2. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure, which is the blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

Blood pressure readings

  • Normal blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mmHg.
  • Prehypertension: 120/80 mmHg to 139/89 mmHg.
  • Hypertension: Greater than 140/90 mmHg.
  • Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
  • Blood pressure readings less than or equal to 90/60 mmHg are considered hypotension.

Hypertension

A person may have high blood pressure if they consistently have a reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher (hypertension).

High blood pressure raises the chances of developing certain health problems, including cardiovascular disease. Even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels, most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms.

15 common symptoms of high blood pressure

Most commonly, there is no symptom of blood pressure; however, when present, common symptoms may include:

  1. Severe headaches
  2. Fatigue
  3. Confusion
  4. Pounding in the chest, neck, or ears
  5. Dizziness
  6. Sweating
  7. Chest pain
  8. Vision problems
  9. Trouble sleeping
  10. Nosebleed
  11. Nausea and vomiting
  12. Difficulty breathing
  13. Irregular heartbeat
  14. Nervousness
  15. Facial flushing

8 causes of high blood pressure

  1. Genetics and family history of hypertension
  2. A consequence of aging (65 years and older)
  3. Poor lifestyle (stress, no physical activity, poor sleeping habits)
  4. Diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, sleep apnea syndrome, or other such comorbidities
  5. High salt intake
  6. Smoking
  7. Too much or frequently consuming alcohol
  8. Ethnicity, African, or Caribbean descent

If a person has high blood pressure, they should seek medical advice on how to treat the condition. There are, however, a few natural ways to prevent or reduce high blood pressure. The following are some examples:

  • Eat a diet low in salt and consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Regular physical activity
  • Lose weight if overweight
  • Make sure to get enough rest and a good night sleep
  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine in the diet

SLIDESHOW

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise and Tips See Slideshow

Hypotension

In general, the lower the blood pressure, the better the health. It is possible, however, to have abnormally low blood pressure.

People with transient blood pressure readings of 90/60 mmHg or less are considered to have low blood pressure, which is normally due to dehydration, drugs that cause postural hypotension, or autonomic instability.

6 symptoms of low blood pressure

5 causes of low blood pressure

  1. Aged older than 65 years
  2. Taking medication, including certain steroids, beta-blockers, antidepressants, some Parkinson’s disease drugs, and erectile dysfunction treatments
  3. Being pregnant
  4. Medical conditions, such as dehydration, severe infections (sepsis), and severe allergic reactions
  5. Hemorrhaging

If a person has low blood pressure, they should always listen to their doctor's advice on how to treat it. However, a few general health tips may help alleviate low blood pressure, such as:

  • Drinking more water
  • Resting after eating
  • Avoiding changing the posture, such as standing up or getting out of bed, too fast
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Avoiding caffeine in the evening

Why is it recommended to check blood pressure multiple times a day?

According to the international hypertension societies, multiple blood pressure measurements should be taken over several days, under similar conditions, and at the same time of day (morning and evening), and the mean value of these measurements should be calculated. 

  • This average value represents an individual’s blood pressure. Blood pressure fluctuates constantly, even when at rest. As a result, doctors and the Hypertension Society recommend taking at least two readings and averaging the results each time.
  • A series of measurements is far more reliable than a single measurement when it comes to determining blood pressure. Physicians have long used blood pressure averaging methods to determine the need for and adjust the treatment of hypertension in their patients.
  • The actual blood pressure of a patient is the average of readings over time. The specific systolic and diastolic blood pressures from a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure reading or asking patients to take multiple readings at home and averaging those readings.

Taking a series of sequential in-office blood pressure measurements and then averaging those measurements, according to a growing body of research, is the most effective method of averaging.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Health and Social Care Board. Blood pressure testing in community pharmacy. http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/blood-pressure-testing-in-community-pharmacy/

Fairview Health. Blood Pressure Goals Achievement Program. https://www.fairview.org/services/pharmacy/bpgap

Vinyoles E, Vera M, Cecilia M, García-Alfaro M, Fernandez-San-Martin M. BLOOD PRESSURE MEASUREMENT: THE WAITING TIME BETWEEN READINGS: PP.14.18. J Hypertension. June 2010; 28: e254. https://journals.lww.com/jhypertension/Abstract/2010/06001/Blood_Pressure_Measurement__the_Waiting_Time.703.aspx

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measure Your Blood Pressure. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/measure.htm