health advice

Battling high blood pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is characterised by a diastolic blood pressure over 90 mmHg or systolic blood pressure consistently over 140 mmHg. Some people don’t experience any symptoms from high blood pressure, while others may have shortness of breath, heart palpitations, blurred vision, dizziness, repeated nosebleeds, or prolonged headaches.

Even if you don’t feel any of the above symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at risk for developing heart and blood vessel disease, and can lead to problems such as:

- Brain damage (such as stroke or dementia)
- Heart damage (such as heart attack or heart failure)
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage (blindness)

To keep an eye on your blood pressure, have your GP measure your pressure next time you visit. If you have normal blood pressure, an annual check is sufficient, but if it’s high, schedule frequent checks with your GP or invest in an at-home kit to test it yourself. 

High blood pressure often runs in the family, but lifestyle choices also play a significant role in the development of high blood pressure. You’re more like to develop high blood pressure if you:

- Have too much salt in your diet
- Have too much fat in your diet
- Are overweight
- Drink too much alcohol
- Don’t get enough exercise
- Smoke
- Are frequently stressed

Hypertension is also more likely for those who have medical conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol or sleep apnoea, or those who take certain medications (such as oral contraceptives).

To help prevent or control high blood pressure, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, limit or avoid highly salty or fatty foods, maintain a healthy body weight, and limit alcohol to no more than two standard drinks a day. 

It also helps to quit smoking, exercise at least 30 minutes most days a week, and practice relaxation techniques to manage stress. It might not sound like a lot of fun, but it’s worth doing to beat those high blood pressure symptoms.

While medicine cannot cure high blood pressure, it can help control the pressure and limit symptoms. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which medications could work for you, as certain hypertension medications may interfere with other prescriptions you take. At Blakes, we offer free blood pressure testing, so if you’re unsure or just want  a check-up, stop past and have one of our staff assist you today. 

The Dreaded Flu Season!

It’s that time of year again, where the chorus of noses blown and the coughs; chesty, phlegm or dry ring out loud across the pharmacy for everyone to hear. 

Flu season is well and truly in full swing, and it’s important to know how to best safe guard yourself against getting sick. Here’s how we can help you with both prevention and the cure. 

If you’ve ever recoiled in horror as a sick person unleashes a series of coughs, sneezes, or splutters, (especially when not covering their mouths, and why this is always on the train?) this friends, is for a damned good reason. 

Colds and flu are viral infections which are spread by the virus being exposed to the air (coughing or sneezing). The droplets of fluid expelled by your nose (or throat) can hover in the air up to one meter!  This is when things get crazy and when you can potentially become infected with the virus. 

Touching just about any surface or fellow human being without having washed your hands puts others at risk of catching your cold or flu. Gross! 

However it’s not all doom and gloom! 

Here are a few ways you can prevent the dreaded lurgy ruining your life and running your nose; 

•    Visiting us for a flu vaccination – this is available for anyone over 6 months of age 
•    Regularly washing your hands with soap and water, especially after touching your nose and mouth 
•    Sneezing and coughing into tissues and disposing of them immediately. 
•    Cleaning surfaces such as your phone and keyboard regularly. 
•    Avoiding sharing cutlery and cups 

Vitamins and supplements such as Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C are popular immunity boosters. We’ve a variety of natural remedies in store if the vac isn’t for you. These should not be relied on to cure your symptoms, but rather if you notice the symptoms then dose up. 

If you notice any of the following, chances are you have contracted the flu; 

•    Sudden fever, with temperatures of 38 degrees and over 
•    Lethargy 
•    Chills 
•    Aching muscles 
•    Sore throat 
•    Loss of appetite 
•    Sneezing 
•    Dry, chesty cough 

So it happened. 

You’re lying in bed, surrounded by tissues. Netflix is on, but you can’t even bring yourself to watch anything and enjoy it. Brace yourself; the flu has come. 

This is where we come in!

Visit us to find out what we can offer to make your recovery as smooth and as quickly as possible.  Some of these tried and tested remedies will get you on the road to recovery though. 
•    Bed rest 
•    Plenty of fluids – this excludes alcoholic beverages 
•    Keeping warm 
•    As much fresh fruit and vegetables as you can handle.

It is important to note that certain groups in the community should seek medical attention immediately if they have been infected with the flu virus. These include; 

•    Young children and babies
•    Pregnant women 
•    People aged 65 and over 

If in doubt, always consult with your GP or health care professional.