How’s your heart?
Why your physiotherapist wants to talk about your general health and blood pressure
I went to the GP the other day and they told that my blood pressure went up (luckily only a little bit). I had no symptoms; there was nothing to let me know that was the case. I then started thinking about what affects blood pressure; I know there are several things that can cause high blood pressure including lack of physical activity, eating lots of salt, drinking lots of alcohol, family history and stress.
Blood pressure is a measurement of how much pressure there is in your arteries when your heart is at maximal contraction (systole) over relaxation (diastole). Blood pressure of 120/80 is considered normal. Blood pressure of 120/80 up to 139/89 is considered high-normal (where I was the other day), anything over this is considered to be a condition called hypertension (high blood pressure).
When you come in to see me, no matter why you are here, I will always ask about your general health. This will include asking you about your heart. Why? Because I am treating you as a whole person, not just your back or your ankle. Also, because some physiotherapy treatments are contraindicated (not allowed) if you are taking certain medications or if you have a pacemaker.
Having high blood pressure puts you at risk of cardiac disease, kidney conditions or stroke. What can you do to prevent high blood pressure? One thing is commence a healthy level of exercise: that is where your physiotherapist is most excited to help! Having a healthy diet, ceasing smoking and reducing alcohol intake are all important too, and we are happy to chat to you about this and refer you on to other health professionals if you need.
If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, if you haven’t had a medical assessment, I recommend you contact your GP and get started. Your GP will chat to you about any medical options available, particularly if you do have very high or low blood pressure. GP’s will often refer you to us physios to get started or improve your current level of exercise. A recent study found that Physiotherapists are a GP’s most recommended Health Professional.
While we do treat ankle strains and back pain, physiotherapy does more than this.
There is a great website where you can find out more information on how physiotherapy may help your condition – whether it’s getting your musculoskeletal or neurological condition managed, or just getting healthier! See https://choose.physio/
Blog Prepared by Laura Hundertmark (Physiotherapist)