Understanding Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. It's important to check your blood pressure regularly to ensure you 'know your numbers'.
Taking your blood pressure (BP) yourself gives the most accurate and reliable results. You can complete our online form to submit your readings to the practice, alternatively you can collect a paper form at reception.
We will aim to contact you within 3 weeks of submitting your readings, if you haven’t heard from us by then please get in touch.
If you would prefer to have your blood pressure checked at the surgery, please book an appointment with the healthcare team. Alternatively see the FAQ below for more information.
Purchasing a Device
Which BP monitor to use
The device you use should be approved by the British Hypertension Society, this guarantees the device has had a series of tests to ensure your results are accurate. You may be able to find the same device or model cheaper from other retailers.
We also have a limited stock of blood pressure monitors to load from the surgery, please organise via our reception team.
How to measure your blood pressure
- Take a measurement whilst sitting down and comfortable after resting for 5 minutes, you shouldn’t eat/drink or smoke for at least an hour before. It's also important not to put the cuff over your clothes or to push your sleeve up.
- Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath (more information in the FAQ below)
- Use the same arm each time – ensuring the cuff is positioned correctly over the bare arm and resting on a flat surface at the level of your heart.
- Take two readings, 1 minute apart and note down the lowest reading.
- Take readings in the morning and evening at the same time for at-least 4 days, ideally for 7 days.
- For most people an ideal average home BP is below 135/85, though recommended limits may be different if you have conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get a blood pressure checked?
We would recommend that your blood pressure is taken at home and averaged over 7 days. Sometimes this is not possible, and a member of staff will request for you to have a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure fitted.
There are several options to get a single one-off blood pressure taken to 'know your numbers':
Some pharmacies locally provide a service to check your blood pressure if you are in certain age ranges and don’t have a hypertension diagnosis. This includes advice about following up your results. Speak to your pharmacy for details
Patient Participation Group
Our volunteer patient participation group regularly runs events at the surgery.
Please speak to reception for more information
Walk-in Self-service Machine
Thatcham and Newbury libraries provide a walk-in self-service machine to check your BP, height, and weight. Ensure you bring the printed slip with you to reception to record the reading on your health record.
Make an Appointment
Make an appointment with a Health Care Assistant by calling reception on 01635 279972.
How often should I measure my blood pressure?
For patients who are not diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), it is recommended you check your blood pressure at least every 5 years. If your readings are at the higher range of 135/85, it may be more appropriate to do this yearly.
If you have a hypertension diagnosis or other health conditions where blood pressure is important, you may need to check your BP more often. Your clinician will inform you of this at your annual review.
How often do I need to submit readings?
If you are not diagnosed with hypertension, then you could submit your readings every few years when you monitor your numbers.
It is important you send us your readings near to your annual chronic disease review and blood tests (this is likely to be near your month of birth).
A member of staff may request readings if there is a change of medication, new health diagnosis, or prior to your repeat medication review.
What size cuff do I need?
Make sure you have the right cuff size for your arm. It should wrap snugly around your upper arm, with just enough space to slide two fingertips underneath. If you can, we would suggest that you measure your upper arm circumference before making your purchase. If you're unsure about the size requirement and do not have access to a tape measure then a 22-42cm cuff may be more suitable.
Can I use a wrist machine?
Upper arm cuffs provide the most accurate measurements, wrist cuffs are not recommended in usual circumstances.
I’m worried about a reading, what should I do?
If you have taken your blood pressure yourself and are worried about a reading, please see this page for more information. If readings are higher than you suspect and you are worried, please make an appointment with a clinician to discuss either at the surgery, or 111 out of hours.
How can I prevent high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking. Learn more about prevention of high blood pressure.
I have been told I need an average, or ambulatory (24 hour) blood pressure?
A device can be fitted for 24 hours to check your blood pressure at a regular interval (normally every 30 minutes).
If a member of staff has advised you to get this performed, please contact the surgery to make an appointment. You will need to have the device fitted by a member of the treatment room team, and then another appointment at the same time 24 hours later to have it removed. This reading will be forwarded to a clinician for review.
I have submitted my readings, but have not heard back
Please allow up to 3 weeks for us to review your readings and get in contact. Ensure your mobile number is up to date as we usually send a text message to let you know the outcome. If you haven’t heard from us in this time, please call reception to discuss.
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