Understanding your Blood Pressure


Our heart is actually a pumping machine that pumps blood to muscles, organs, and tissues across our body so that these organs & tissues get oxygen and required nutrients for its functioning.

Every time the heart beats, it is pushing blood through a network of blood carrying tubes that run around the body called arteries. The pressure inside these artery tubes is known as blood pressure. As the heart squeezes and pushes the blood through arteries, the pressure goes up (Systolic pressure). As the heart relaxes, the pressure goes down a bit (Diastolic pressure)

Both systolic & diastolic numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health. A normal systolic/diastolic range is 120/80 mm HG (Blood pressure readings are expressed in millimeters of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg).

With today’s lifestyle, even if you are in the normal range, it is highly recommended that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight to help prevent hypertension from developing. Regular exercise and healthy eating is important especially if hypertension runs in your family.

Consistently high blood pressure can cause serious issues such as heart issues, chest pain, shortness of breath, stroke etc. Most of the medications for hypertension causes blood vessels to relax and open thereby promoting the free flow of blood and reducing the pressure inside the arteries. If the BP is high or if you have hypertension, then reduce the sodium intake (reduce salt), reduce processed food (most of them are rich in fat & sodium), reduce caffeine. Further, manage the stress and maintain a healthy weight along with physical activities.

Low blood pressure (Hypotension) is also unhealthy and can create problems, as the organs and tissues do not get enough supply of oxygen or nutrients. They are typically caused due to malnutrition, loss of blood due to heavy bleeding, or other endocrine problems/medications

Takeaway –

Keeping the blood pressure in the normal range is crucial in preventing future complications. A combination of healthy eating habits, exercises and medications can help lower your blood pressure. If you are overweight, weight loss is also important in keeping the blood pressure down.

However, a single blood pressure reading does not necessarily classify your health. Ideally, an average of blood pressure readings taken over time is the most accurate.

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