What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is when the blood moves from your arteries at a higher pressure than normal. When high blood pressure can be linked to a certain drug or disease it is often referred to as hypertension. Your blood pressure varies throughout the day depending on certain factors, so it may be necessary to take numerous readings to learn to control your blood pressure.
Understanding the numbers.
You may have watched TV or heard your doctor say BP 120/80. What does that mean? The top number is used to measure systolic pressure which occurs when your heart is squeezing out blood. The bottom (second number) is known as diastolic pressure which is used to measure the pressure when your heart is filling with blood –relaxing between beats. A normal range for blood pressure is below 120/80. If your pressure is more then 140/90 then you have high blood pressure (this will vary if you are over the age of 65.)
How do you determine if you have high blood pressure.
When you go to visit your doctor he will place a blood pressure cuff around arm and he will listen to the flow of your blood. Your doctor will measure your pressure on more than one visit to determine if you have high blood pressure.
How often you should have your blood pressure will vary. You should get it checked once every 2 years after you turn 18. If you are on medication for a high blood pressure or have a family history of high blood pressure it will be checked at every visit to ensure your medication is working and that it is under control.
Suffering from high blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the heart early on. Which would make you more susceptible to conditions like heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.
Typically high blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms which is why it’s very important to get it checked regularly.
If you suffer from high blood pressure your doctor will get you to change your lifestyle. If that still doesn’t help then you may need to be placed on medication. Lifestyle changes include;
Avoiding Tobacco products
Losing weight if you have a BMI greater then 25
Regular exercise 30-60 minutes 4-7 days a week
Reduction of sodium intake
Reduction of Alcohol
Avoidance of fat and cholesterol
Increasing intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium
If you are lucky enough the lifestyle changes alone may get rid of your high blood pressure.