A routine check-up is quick and easy – and essential for your long-term health. We look at how investing a little time in your health today can add years to your future by taking one simple test.
By 2030, it is estimated that three out of every four deaths worldwide will be caused by lifestyle-related health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
According to the World Health Organization, this will place a heavy burden on a country’s healthcare system, hindering its economic progress. But the good news is that many of these conditions can be treated or prevented easily by knowing your status and changing your habits. Routine health screens are useful, early warnings that flag health risks before they get out of hand, giving you a better chance of recovery. Prevention really is better than cure, so don’t delay.
With every heartbeat, your heart pumps blood into your arteries. This exerts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, which is highest when the heart contracts (systolic BP) and lowest when the heart relaxes (diastolic BP).
Why should I take the test?
High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks, stroke and heart and kidney failure. Persistently low blood pressure may lead to dizziness or even cause you to faint. It could be a sign of underlying heart disease, severe dehydration or adrenal-gland problems.
When should I take the test?
From the age of 20, have your blood pressure checked every two years. If you are at risk for high blood pressure, take the test once a year.
What can I expect during the test?
The examiner will wrap a cuff around your arm, just above the elbow. The cuff is inflated until your pulse can’t be detected any longer and then slowly deflated. The value at which your pulse is first detected again is noted as systolic pressure. The cuff is further deflated until all pulse sounds disappear. This value is noted as diastolic pressure.
What do my results mean?
A healthy result: Systolic pressure of 120 mmHg; diastolic pressure of 80 mmHg
Warning sign: Systolic pressure of 140 mmHg and/or diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or higher (From the age of 40, the risk of dying from a stroke or heart disease almost doubles with every 20 mmHg your systolic pressure rises above 120.)