Fit For You No. 8 – The meaning of blood pressure
by Scott Rejholec
Most people know that a normal blood pressure is 120/80, but most don’t know what the numbers actually mean, and what can affect those numbers.
Today’s article will be going over what those numbers are, risk factors that can lead to high blood pressure and how you can help control blood pressure.
First and foremost, what do the numbers mean?
Blood pressure is the pressure inside the arteries. It is measured in two numbers.
The first or top number is the systolic pressure. It is the highest pressure in the arteries when the heart pumps blood into them.
The second or bottom number is diastolic pressure. This is the lowest pressure when the heart rests to refill between beats.
When is blood pressure too high?
If you are at rest and your blood pressure is consistently over 140/90, this would be considered high.
Blood pressure fluctuates constantly throughout the day, so it’s important to note that it needs to be consistently over 140/90 to be considered high. To be consistent, don’t smoke, exercise, or consume caffeine for 30 minutes prior to having it tested.
Knowing your risk factors is definitely the first step in preventing, and/or controlling high blood pressure. Keep in mind that there are certain risk factors that you can’t control such as age, heredity and race.
The risk factors that we want to focus on are the controllable ones. Excessive salt intake, stress, weight, tobacco use and lack of exercise are the main causes.
If high blood pressure is not treated, it can lead to heart disease, a stroke and many other health problems.
The last resort to treating high blood pressure is to take medications. However, if you are already taking them, don’t stop taking them on your own. Have a conversation with your health care provider first.
If you have high blood pressure or not, challenge yourself to monitor your sodium intake, take a deep breathe when your stressed, get outside to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful summer weather and try to limit, or quit your tobacco use.
Your blood pressure is much more important to your body than you may think. If you haven’t had it checked in a while, do it!
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As always, make it a great day!