Simply put, your blood pressure is the force that the blood makes against the walls of your blood vessels each time your heart pumps. It is important to know what your blood pressure is. This allows you to determine whether it is within the normal range or not, allowing you to spring into action in case it is high. Having high blood pressure puts you at risk of heart attack, stroke and many other health problems.
Measuring your blood pressure on a regular basis is important. Aside from having it done at a doctor’s office, it may also be performed at home. Such is carried out with the help of a blood pressure meter or sphygmomanometer. Aside from something that features a mechanical or mercury manometer, there’s also a wrist blood pressure monitor available these days for easy taking of your blood pressure. However, this device is very sensitive to your body position, potentially causing an inaccurate reading or result.
Knowing how to take your blood pressure at home is a smart move on your part. Other than that, it’s also a good idea to be familiar with some of the most important things you need to know about your blood pressure. Continue reading to come across blood pressure facts that can help save your life or that of a loved one.
- There are a couple of numbers involved in a blood pressure reading, expressed in the form of a fraction and has the unit millimeters of mercury or mmHg. The number at the top of the fraction (numerator) is the systolic pressure — the pressure while your heart is beating to pump blood. On the other hand, the number at the bottom of the fraction (denominator) is the diastolic pressure — the pressure in between beats.
- The normal blood pressure of an adult is less than 120/80 mmHg. A blood pressure reading that is 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension in the medical world. Here’s a simple chart to determine whether or not you have high blood pressure:
- Normal: below 120/80 mmHg
- Pre-hypertension: 120-139/80-89 mmHg
- Stage 1 hypertension: 140-159/90-99 mmHg
- Stage 2 hypertension: 160 and above/100 and above mmHg
- Do take note that blood pressure readings may vary from time to time. For instance, it is generally lower while you are sleeping but higher when you are exercising or engaging in any other physical activity.
- You may already have high blood pressure and still not know it. That’s because it is possible for symptoms to be absent even when the condition is already present. In fact, experts say that nearly 1/3 of individuals with high blood pressure have no idea that they are already suffering from it.
- There are certain risk factors for high blood pressure. They include:
- Obesity or being overweight
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Too much salt or sodium in the diet
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle or lack of physical activity or exercise
- Family history of high blood pressure
- Older age
- Problems with the kidneys, adrenal glands or thyroid
- If you have high blood pressure, lowering it is of utmost importance. Otherwise, the blood vessels may get thicker and thicker as well as weaker and weaker. This occurrence can lead to complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney problems and others.
- Following the order of your doctor is very important to help lower your blood pressure. There are ways to keep high blood pressure in check. They include:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Reduce intake of sodium and bad fats
- Quit cigarette smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke
- Limit alcohol intake to a serving per day for women and two servings per day for men
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, not less than 5 times per week.