Tips for Controlling your Blood Pressure
Now, we’ve all heard of blood pressure and been warned countless times to watch it, but what exactly is it? And what do those numbers mean they give you at the doctor’s office?
Blood pressure is simply the pressure of the blood as it is traveling through your arteries (fancy word for blood vessels). Each time your heart beats, and on average it beats 60-70 times a minute when at rest, it pumps blood into your arteries. The higher your blood pressure the harder the heart has to work to pump the blood. This can put unwanted stress on your heart.
There are two types of blood pressure that are measured: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is measured just as the heart beats, whereas diastolic pressure is measured when the heart is at rest, between beats. Because there is more pressure just as the heart beats, your systolic pressure is higher than your diastolic pressure. Usually when the two numbers are written down, or are spoken, systolic pressure is the top (or first) number and diastolic pressure is the bottom (or second number). For example, if your systolic pressure was 120 mmHg, and your diastolic pressure was 80 mmHg, than it would be 120/80.
The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are in the table below Some of the potential consequences of high blood pressure are:
- Heart Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Eye Disease
Here are some tips for controlling your blood pressure:
- Exercising on a regular basis
- Eating well and reducing salt intake
- Managing Stress
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all
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