What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force that our heart uses to pump blood in our entire body. Blood pressure is a vital body function. Without blood pressure nutrients or oxygen will not reach vital organs. Also for WBC to be distributed throughout the body, blood pressure is needed. Blood pressure is also needed to carry the toxic waste in our bodies through our kidney and our liver.
How does the blood pressure in our body work? When our heart beats and it contracts, it creates blood pressure by pushing the blood out. Blood pressure is also caused by the difference in pressure between the smaller branches of the arteries and the heart. It is very important to note here that the blood pressure and flow is affected by the condition of the arteries.
How is it measured? Blood pressure is expressed with two equally important numbers, for example, 120/80. In this example, 120, the top number represents the amount of pressure in arteries during the contraction of the heart muscle, which is known as systolic pressure. 80, the bottom number, refers to the blood pressure when the heart muscle is between beats, which is known as diastolic pressure.
What is a normal reading? When the top number is between 90 and 120, and the bottom number is between 60 and 80, blood pressure is normal. For those over the age of 60 having hypertension, should aim for a blood pressure level of less than 150/90mm Hg. There are other factors affecting pressure readings – like measuring devices and software, number of readings, raised pressure caused by anxiety and night-time factors.
It is advised that patients use an automated oscillometric device that measures blood pressure in the brachial artery (upper arm) and perform measurements in a quiet room after five minutes of rest in the seated position with the back and arm supported in order to get an accurate reading. And to observe the average, a person needs to at least take 12 or 14 measurements both in the morning and evening, over a period of one week.
It is very crucial to the health of our body to understand the pressure readings. If the numbers are on a higher range, the heart is working too hard to pump blood to the body. When the numbers are on the lower range, it means that your blood pressure is too low and isn’t supplying enough oxygenated blood to your body and the heart. Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. Low BP is not usually a cause for concern unless you start to experience symptoms that are abnormal.
How to keep a healthy blood pressure level?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight is an ideal way to prevent extreme changes in your blood pressure. Need to be more cautious if hypertension runs in the family.
Here is what doctors recommend for maintaining a healthy blood pressure:
● Maintain a healthy body weight.
● Stick to a regular diet of fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
● Slow down sodium intake.
● Exercise at least for 30 mins daily.
● Keep alcohol under moderation.
Your blood pressure can reveal a lot about your general overall health. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get it checked regularly by your primary care physician.
Our multidisciplinary team of cardiologists provide comprehensive individualized care to our patients with hypertension.