Blood pressure

Most of us have had our blood pressure measured at some point in our lives, but do we really understand why? What is the importance of a healthy blood pressure? What do those mysterious numbers really mean?

Our blood pressure reading is the measurement of two separate actions. The first number, the systolic reading, is the measurement of the hearts force as it is pushing the blood through the circulatory system. The second number, the diastolic, is the measurement of the pressure in the arteries in between heartbeats, as the heart is at rest. This is why a blood pressure reading is always given as two numbers, such as 130/80.

Normal blood pressure in an adult would be below 140/90, although anything close to that would still warrant monitoring. Higher than those limits would be considered to be elevated. The best possible reading would be around 120/80. An elevated blood pressure is known as Hypertension. One elevated high reading doesn’t necessarily mean there is cause for concern, anxiety or stress can cause a temporarily elevated reading. Hypertension can also be caused by conditions other the heart disease, many times there is no obvious reason at all.

Because Hypertension is such a potentially serious condition and has few obvious symptoms, it is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly so any problem can be picked up before it causes too much damage. Unchecked, Hypertension puts you at much higher risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and artherosclerosis. The heart is working much harder than necessary putting it and the other organs under stress.

Ways to reduce your blood pressure are complimentary to those preventing any component of heart disease. Increase excersize, stop smoking, reduce fat in the diet and try to lose weight. Restricting salt from the diet is particularly important. Sodium has a direct effect on the blood pressure, especially so in some people, so removing it from the diet is very important if you have Hypertension. There are many different medications availabe as well if your doctor feels it is necessary.

Low blood pressure, or Hypotension, is less dangerous, although can certainly cause more symptoms such as fainting or lightheadedness. If it is causing symptoms then it will need to be medically assessed to try and find a reason for it. It can be caused by various diseases and conditions, lack of blood volume due to dehydration or bleeding or it can simply be benign. One simple treatment for serious Hypotension, in fact almost the only treatment, is to drink plenty of water to raise the blood volume and to increase the intake of salt in the diet. As someone who suffers from Hypotension, I find this a very effective treatment indeed.

It is very important for you to be aware of your blood pressure, so be sure to have it checked if it hasn’t been in some time. It is an important part of your regular checkup.

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