When was the last time you went to the doctor? Did they check your blood pressure? Did they put that contraption that squeezes your arm on you? A sphygmomanometer, better known as a blood pressure cuff, works like this: Medical professionals place the cuff on the arm and inflate it until no blood can flow through. The air is then let out, and as the blood begins to pump again, you will hear the blood pound around the blood vessels as the blood returns to the arm. The nurse then reads the numbers off, and you carry on with the doctor’s visit. What do those numbers mean? The readings usually are read as a triple-digit number over a double-digit number. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and define high blood pressure, how to manage it, and what it means for you.
Blood Pressure Number Readings
We briefly touched on hypertension readings (the official medical term for High Blood Pressure), so let’s get back into it. Those three digits from the blood pressure reading indicate your Systolic Blood Pressure. This measures the amount of pressure experienced as your heart beats. Every time the heart beats, it pumps blood out to the body. After every beat, the heart also takes a “breath” and relaxes before pumping once again. This relaxation is the second reading, Diastolic Blood Pressure. So, we understand what the readings are now, but what are good and bad readings? Normal blood pressure puts your Systolic Blood Pressure anywhere under 140 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury) and your Diastolic Blood Pressure under 90 mmHg (millimeters of Mercury). Anything above those readings is considered hypertension.
Living With Hypertension
If you are diagnosed with hypertension, you may experience headaches, chest pains, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and more. If you go untreated for too long, you can open yourself up to a stroke! What’s scary is that hypertension sometimes has no symptoms! We can all walk around with hypertension and not even know it. What causes hypertension? High-salt diets, smoking, and eating too much fast food all contribute to it. Poor food quality typically contains high sodium levels to keep the food fresher for longer. Not getting enough exercise doesn’t help either. So what do we do?
Managing High Blood Pressure
Mild hypertension can be reversible or curable. Mild hypertension can result from a poor diet or a sedentary lifestyle. That is good news! If you have mild hypertension, getting more exercise can help you. Take some time out of your day and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Funnily enough, getting your blood pumping helps you out when your blood is pumping at too high a pressure. It’s a funny thought! Proper exercise and a proper diet are what it takes to get your hypertension back to a healthier level. Cut out excess fatty foods, foods with high sodium, and too much alcohol. Heavy alcohol consumption will increase your blood pressure over time, so keep an eye on your consumption rate!
If you are experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations, call 911 IMMEDIATELY. Hypertension is no joke. If you’ve had hypertension for some time, medications may be necessary for you. Consult your doctor if you think you may have hypertension or if you are experiencing any other health-related issues. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but exercise and a good diet do the trick a little better.
If you liked this article, check out this article on our sister site: Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain.
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