What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure or force the blood exerts against the walls of the arteries. Arteries are the blood vessels that take the blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day as the heart contracts and relaxes. When blood pressure is measured, it is a measure of how hard the heart has to work to pump the blood all around the body.

Blood pressure is usually represented as a systolic and diastolic figure. The unit of measurement is called millimetres of mercury (mmHg). For example, a normal BP in an adult may be around 120/80mmHg (often described as 120 over 80). This is shorthand for a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.

The systolic pressure is the highest pressure and occurs when the blood is pushed through the arteries by the contracting (or the beat) of the heart. When the heart relaxes between beats the pressure in the arteries falls – this is diastolic blood pressure.

Everyone’s BP differs. BP also varies depending on the level of activity; it usually drops when an individual is asleep and increases when an individual exercises or is under stress.

Where is this service available?

This service is available in participating LloydsPharmacy stores across Ireland.

What is involved and how long will the appointment take?

To allow us to get the most accurate “at rest” blood pressure reading, we recommend to do the following before your appointment:
  • Don’t eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before you present for your appointment.
  • Don’t exercise 30 minutes before your reading.
  • Don’t smoke or drink alcohol or caffeine before your reading.
  • Empty your bladder before your appointment.
  • For the most accurate reading, please wear clothing that will allow the cuff to be placed on bare skin on your arm.
During your appointment:
  • When you present to the pharmacy, the team will first ask that you sit in a chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
  • The questionnaire will already have been filled out by you online before the appointment. If you have any questions on this, please contact a member of the LloydsPharmacy team.
  • Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
  • You will be advised not to talk during the reading.
  • Rest your arm on the table so that it is at chest level.
  • A trained member of our team will wrap and secure an inflatable cuff around your arm. The machine will then inflate the cuff so that it will gently tighten on your arm. The cuff has a gauge on it that will measure your blood pressure.
  • The cuff will feel tight for a few seconds before it then slowly deflates. This process is quick and painless.
  • The machine will then display your blood pressure reading and pulse rate (the number of times your heart beats per minute) on its screen.
A pharmacist will then review your questionnaire and depending on the results will either:
  • Wait 5 minutes and measure your blood pressure on your other arm.
  • Offer no new advice but reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet.
  • Offer lifestyle and dietary advice.
  • Offer lifestyle and dietary advice and ask you to return for a further reading on another day.
  • Offer lifestyle and dietary advice and refer you to your GP.
The pharmacy will retain a copy of the questionnaire and also provide you with a copy to retain or bring to your GP.

How much does this service cost and how long will it take?

The fee for this service is €5 and will take a total of approximately 15 minutes.

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