We will check your blood pressure as often as necessary either during a surgery attendance or when you see the Practice Nurse. If hypertension (high blood pressure) is diagnosed then we might prescribe some routine blood pressure treatment. Before starting on treatment which may be lifelong, we take great care that treatment is indicated. It is very sensible when attending for a blood pressure measurement to sit quietly in the waiting room for ten minutes or so to allow the pressure to settle. This might help in reducing "white coat" hypertension which we all suffer from in a greater or lesser degree.
We would always advise dietary means of reducing blood pressure along with regular exercise. Your doctor might give you a handout with suggestions to consider and follow. Needless to say, cessation of smoking, reduction of weight and a reduction in alcohol intake to the recommended limits are often all that is needed to reduce blood pressure successfully along with some regular exercise. Increasingly the role of salt in the diet is becoming a factor and pressure groups are encouraging supermarkets to add less salt to the processed food. All persons and especially hypertensives should be encouraged to stop all added salt with their food especially at the table. A salt substitute may be helpful in reducing the intake of salt although occasionally this has been known to be a cause of an excess of potassium in the blood.
To help with the diagnosis of hypertension, the practice has purchased a 24 hr ambulatory blood pressure monitor, which gives a very helpful print out of repeated blood pressure readings throughout a complete 24 hours. We also have regular checks on the blood pressure machines that we use in the surgery. With new EU regulations regarding mercury in the surgery, we are experimenting with some new electronic blood pressure machines, which while not accurate enough to diagnose blood pressure, are very easy to use for monitoring blood pressure. The use of these machines reduces the possibility of observer error also and standardises the readings throughout the surgery. A useful feature is that they can be set to take two readings with an small interval between readings.
The Practice Nurse will also monitor blood pressures during the normal surgeries. The frequency of these checks depends upon many factors but we would wish all patients on medication to have at least an annual check of their blood pressure. Certain drugs will need a regular blood test to monitor any side effects.
In general patients who smoke when seen by their doctor if motivated to stop smoking are referred to the health visitor. They have literature and advice to help patients to stop smoking and can provide nicotine replacement therapy if appropriate. Recently a new drug has become available which is proving very useful and effective in helping patients stop and stay off cigarettes. If you are interested and motivated to give up smoking, then please discuss with your doctor or make an appointment with your health visitor.
Chlamydia screening is being offered to all 15-24 year olds as part of a Nationwide programme. Fordingbridge Surgery is participating in the Programme. This means we will offer all young persons 15 – 24 years old the opportunity to undertake Chlamydia screening when they attend the surgery.
You do not have to participate in this screening programme and it will not be relevant if you have NEVER been sexually active. If you would like to be screened ask the receptionist for a "Screening Pack" or alternatively ask your doctor/nurse practitioner or practice nurse when you attend for your appointment.
The test is confidential and easy to undertake (but you must follow the instructions given with each kit).