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Ask your Pharmacist: High Blood Pressure is a silent killer

Monday, 28th April, 2014 10:17am

Ask your Pharmacist: High Blood Pressure is a silent killer

Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St, Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to or ask our pharmacist in store


A friend of mine was sent to you by their doctor to get a 24 hour blood pressure monitor fitting. Can you tell the advantages of this? I find my blood pressure continually fluctuates so I am considering a 24 hour monitor.

Michael, Ballynacargy


High blood pressure is one of the most common preventable causes of early ill health and death in the Ireland. It is a significant cause of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease and cognitive decline (dementia). Did you know that every hour, someone dies from heart disease and stroke in Ireland?

If you have been diagnosed or suspected of having high blood pressure, a 24 hour blood pressure monitor is the most reliable tool to check the accuracy of the diagnosis and in many cases prevent you having to take blood pressure medication due to the high error rate of once off blood pressure checks.

Internationally recognised best practice for diagnosis of high Blood Pressure

The respected health advisory body, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK recommends that a diagnosis of primary hypertension (high blood pressure) should be confirmed using 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), rather than be based solely on measurements of blood pressure taken in the clinic. The recommendation is based on substantial new evidence, including that published in the Lancet (Journal of Medicine) in August 2012, recommending that ABPM 24 Hour monitoring is more accurate than both clinic and home monitoring in determining the presence of hypertension. If you are already taking blood pressure medication, our 24 blood pressure monitor will show if you are getting the full benefit of the blood pressure medication you must take.

White Coat Syndrome

White coat Syndrome” or “White coat Hypertension” is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit high blood pressure in a clinical or medical setting but not in other settings. It is thought that this is due to the anxiety some people experience during a clinic or medical type visit. It is recognised that up to 30% of people suffer from this phenomenon leading to misdiagnosis of high blood pressure in some cases. 24 hour ABPM blood pressure monitoring can prevent this problem.

Where to get a 24 blood pressure monitor fitted

Most GP surgeries offer the 24 hour blood pressure monitoring service. Whelehans Pharmacy in Mullingar can now fit you with a 24 hour blood pressure based on ABPM technology which you can now wear while undertaking normal daily activities. You can book the service by calling 04493 34591.

Whelehans 24 hour Blood Pressure service costs €50. We simply fit the monitor in the morning, you wear it for 24 hours and when you come back the next morning we will have your results which you can bring to your GP.

More detailed information on high blood pressure is available in Whelehans

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