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  • 10 March 2022
  • 9 min read

Everything You Need To Know About Blood Pressure

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse
    • Laura Bosworth
    • Ruta Baltruniene
    • Richard Gill
    • Tracie Mckelvie
  • 3
  • 703
“This is why we do our health checks, especially as a GP Nurse in clinics, just to make sure that people are okay and manage it.”

In this video, Claire gives some insight about Blood Pressure, what it means for you as a Nurse and what it can mean for your Patients.

Disclaimer About This Training Video

This video will explain in detail what you can expect to do. It will also supplement any existing qualification and experience you have in this subject and procedures, refresh your memory and prepare you for a regulated training course. (Of course, it is not a substitute for a course.) You can also find regulated training courses on Nurses.co.uk. Our courses will build your CPD, provide you with a certificate, and enhance your CV when job hunting.

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Topics Covered In This Article

Introduction

The Basics

The Different Pressures

What The Measurements Mean

White Coat Syndrome

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

Equipment

Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

Conclusion

Introduction

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the vlog.

Today's vlog is all about blood pressure which has really really important if you are a Nurse or a Healthcare Professional out there and you are doing blood pressures.

It's really important to understand what it is, why we're doing it, and what it means.

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The Basics

So we're going to start with the basics, what is blood pressure?

So, if we go to basics; the heart, what does the heart do?

It pumps blood around the body.

And that pump has to have enough force behind it to pump all of the blood, all of the nutrients, all of the oxygen to all of your organs and tissues to keep you alive.

If that pump isn't working effectively, if there's anything wrong with it, and that pressure, so basically when you've got that contraction of your heart squeezing, it's the pressure, the force around the body has to be enough to reach those organs and those tissues to make sure you are getting enough nutrients, getting enough oxygen to keep you alive.

And quite often in healthcare, we're always worried about higher blood pressure but actually it's not okay if your blood pressure is always sitting really, really low because that means that pressure isn't getting around your body enough, it's not reaching the cells, it's not reach reaching the tissues, and if they don't get the nutrients and oxygen that they need, then your cells and tissues are going to start to die off.

So, it's really important that we get the right balance of blood pressure, it needs to sit at a good balance to make sure that you're getting the right nutrients, the right oxygen you need.

So, it's really important that we get the right balance of blood pressure, it needs to sit at a good balance to make sure that you're getting the right nutrients, the right oxygen you need.

The Different Pressures

So, in blood pressure we have two numbers, the top number and the bottom number.

The top number which is called Systolic, that is your top pressure or the highest pressure in the body.

This should be sitting around between 100 and 140, that's the range.

However, if someone has medical conditions, health conditions, those ranges will vary that is all on the NICE guidelines to have a look at and the different ranges for specific conditions, completely varies to the person and the individual and the medications they take.

Healthy, fit people will have 100 to 140, sit in that range

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What The Measurements Mean

So what does that top number actually mean?

What is it doing?

What's it measuring?

So, basically that top number is measuring the stretch of your arteries.

So when, like I said, when you've got the heart, it's squeezing, it's pumping that blood around and that first burst of pressure that's going into your arteries.

So let's just say you have your artery like this, you've got the blood pumping through this, every single second, every single minute, it's going like this, your arteries are going like this up and down as the blood comes through, it opens and it recoils when the blood passes through.

So that first number, that top number that we're measuring is when the arteries expand 'cause the blood has filled it, so then it's expanding and it's measuring that top stretch, how far is it stretching?

So as you can imagine, you don't want that number going too high because if you stretch it, stretch, it stretch it, you don't want some sort of burst vein, you don't want blocked arteries, it could potentially lead to heart attacks and strokes and things like that.

So it's going to cause a lot of problems if that number's constantly too high every single day of your life or your patient's life.

So that's why it's really important to get those measurements right. Lower number, the diastolic number should be between 60 and 90.

And like I said, you have your arteries like this, you've got your blood pressure going through like this, so the bottom number is measuring what's left behind. So once that pressure's gone in, it's gone through, it recoils back to its normal sort of state.

So it's looking how much stagnant blood is left behind, so if you've got, again, if you've got too much, you're going to get a buildup, you're going to get blood clots, you're going to get it sort of sticking to the side of the arteries, it's going to cause a lot of damage, you're going to be at more risk of blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, like I said, a whole lot of problems.

So that's why it's really important to get that number right as well.

White Coat Syndrome

Some patients will come in with what we call white coat syndrome, which is where they get a bit anxious.

Some people get it without even realizing, they sit down, their blood pressure is sky high because they're sat in your clinic room and you're doing the blood pressure.

So this is why the NICE guidelines say that you should get the patient to do a week's worth of readings, morning and evening, from the comfort of their own home.

If they've got blood pressure at home, if they've got family members blood pressure machine that they can borrow, get them to do a week diary of readings just so you can have a look and see what those readings are at home.

'Cause a lot of the time patients' blood pressure at home is actually okay, it's perfect, it's purely when they're coming to clinic and that's okay.

But if it's regularly high, high, high when they're at home or really extremely low, then that's you would refer on to the doctor or advanced Nurse practitioner to have a look into.

Causes Of High Blood Pressure

So what causes problems with your blood pressure?

We're going to talk about more high blood pressure because that's where people get more problems with it.

So things like eating too much salt, drinking alcohol, smoking, obesity, different health conditions as well can increase your blood pressure, some people that are pregnant, their blood pressure can go up as well.

So, different lifestyles, different diets, different ethnicities as well are sort of more prone to getting high blood pressure.

I don't think there's a lot of research out there into the reasons why that happens, but it's, again, different health conditions, medications, lifestyles, eating, drinking, things like that, all come into a big play with this.

Some other things are like certain medications or if someone's got kidney problems, something like that or heart problems, they might have a variation in their blood pressure.

It might be going too high, too low, might be completely erratic, who knows?

So that's why when someone comes into clinic and they've got a high blood of pressure, we always do blood tests and ECG just to rule out any kidney problems, any electrolyte imbalances which could be causing that as well, and then ECG to check the heart and make sure there's nothing going on there as well.

And if anyone does have any cardiovascular problems going on, like atrial fibrillation, for example, you should always use a manual blood pressure machine.

And if anyone does have any cardiovascular problems going on, like atrial fibrillation, for example, AF, you should always use a manual blood pressure machine.

Because, if you use an electric monitor it can vary, literally by like fifteens or something like that.

So always use a manual one to make sure it's accurate because the readings are going to be completely different to electro monitor because they can't read it as good as your own ears if that makes sense, so it's always best practice to use a manual set if you've got one.

Equipment

Also, whilst we're talking with the equipment is choosing the right size cuff for your page as well, so make sure the cuff is the right size for your patient because having a cuff that doesn't fit well, it's too big, too small, really makes a massive difference to the blood pressure reading.

You'll be surprised, I've tried and tested this myself just to see and it can be way off. So make sure you've got the right cuff size as well.

Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

So, some symptoms of high blood pressure that people might get, blurred vision, headaches, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and nose bleeds.

However, more than one in four adults have high blood pressure and they don't even know they've got it.

They don't have any symptoms or anything that sort of say that they've got high blood pressure.

This is why we do our health checks, especially as a GP Nurse in clinics, just to make sure that people are okay and manage it.

And lastly, some things that you can do to lower blood pressure or you get your patients to do to lower blood pressure is lifestyle advice, reducing salt intake, alcohol intake, reduce smoking, losing weight, doing more exercise as well.

The theory behind the exercises, the more exercise you do, the stronger your heart's getting, so it doesn't have to pump as hard and vigorous as it should to get the blood around the body.

So the blood pressure should come down if that makes sense. But just making those small lifestyle changes can really make a massive difference to someone's blood pressure, without the need for medications.

It can just make such a big difference to somebody.

Conclusion

So that's it for me. I hope that's helped you understand a little bit more about blood pressure, why we do it, and the risks and things like that.

I hope it's been helpful. Any comments, any more videos you'd like me to do, leave a comment below and I will get back to it.

Thank you, have a great day, everyone.

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

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  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

About the author

  • Claire Carmichael
    Adult Nurse - General Practice Nurse

I am a qualified Adult Nurse, working as a General Practice Nurse. I believe that nursing gets a lot of bad press, so I create blogs and vlogs to help anyone considering their nursing career and to create positivity surrounding our profession as I'm so passionate about nursing.

    • Laura Bosworth
    • Ruta Baltruniene
    • Richard Gill
    • Tracie Mckelvie
  • 3
  • 703

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    • Iyabo Lawal 2 months ago
      Iyabo Lawal
    • Iyabo Lawal
      2 months ago

      I must confess this is one of the best videos on blood pressure that I've watched. Very educative. Keep it ... read more

    • Tracie Mckelvie 2 months ago
      Tracie Mckelvie
    • Tracie Mckelvie
      2 months ago

      I have to say that after 30 years of nursing, this has to be the best explanation of blood pressure ... read more

    • Ruta Baltruniene 2 months ago
      Ruta Baltruniene
    • Ruta Baltruniene
      2 months ago

      Very interesting and informative video! Thank you very much 👩‍⚕️