Residents Can Now Check Their Own Blood Pressure

Ms. Petronella Edwards From The Ministry of Health

Ms. Petronella Edwards From The Ministry of Health
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 08, 2009 (CUOPM)

In an effort to demystify blood pressure checking and make it easier and more accessible for individuals to monitor themselves, the Ministry of Health has located two automatic blood pressure monitors in Basseterre. One is located at Government Headquarters and the other at the General Post Office in Basseterre.

Co-ordinator of Non-Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Programme in the Health Promotion Unit of the Ministry of Health, Ms. Petronella Edwards said the Ministry of Health, Social and Community Development and Gender Affairs in its commitment to ensure the wellbeing and welfare of the public, approached the Development Bank of St Kitts and Nevis with a proposal and to contribute the procurement of these two automatic blood pressure monitors.

Speaking at a handing over ceremony downstairs Government Headquarters Wednesday morning, Ms. Edwards disclosed 19.5 percent of the population in St. Kitts reported that a doctor or nurse had indicated they were hypertensive, but when the measurement was undertaken it indicated that 26 percent had elevated blood pressure.

She said that the Ministry was showing leadership by setting the direction for health care development in the country and was continually looking for opportunities to get people taking action for improving their own health.

Ms. Edwards said good health is to a great extent the responsibility of the individual and the parents of children.

She added that it was therefore fitting that the introduction of the new initiative will help to raise awareness about high blood pressure and increase blood pressure checking.

According to Ms. Edwards the device is fully automatic and has been clinically validated as – AA Grade, which is the highest possible grade that is issued by the British Hypertension Society (BHS), in the UK.

“The way that the blood pressure monitor works is rather easy to understand.  You slip your arm into a cuff with the palm up and relax while the cuff pumps up around your arm (either arm can be used).  After a few seconds, the pressure will release and it will display a record of your blood pressure and your pulse.  If an irregular heart beat is detected during measurement, a special heart symbol is displayed and is printed on the readout. The monitor has an auto cutter that provides a printout without the user manually tearing the paper,” said Ms. Edwards.

For those concerned about the electricity, the device has an energy saving function in that it switches to the energy saving mode approximately 3 minutes after the last measurement. There is a sensor, located at the bottom-front of the unit that turns on the power automatically when a user sits at the unit.

“It is recommended that you have your blood pressure checked at least annually. However if you have a medical condition or have had raised blood pressure or have any other illnesses you may need to check it more often. The same directive you get when you visit the clinic about resting for at least 5 minutes before checking the blood pressure, applies when using these devices,” said Ms. Edwards.

The Health official said there is always a record or make note of the numbers and know whether they are normal, in the pre-hypertension phase or are high, by matching it with the poster guide.

“Know that a healthy blood pressure is associated with green, the “˜watch out’, “˜be careful’ range is pre-hypertension (borderline) is the associated with yellow /amber and numbers falling in the high with red requires that you recheck, follow up or consult a health professional. The “˜know your numbers’ poster will be mounted next to the blood pressure machines,” said Ms. Edwards.

“There is a saying that what you don’t know, cannot hurt you … well this is one time when that is not true …because with high bold pressure, what you don’t know can cause your death,” she concluded.

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