Blood Pressure 101
Face the facts of blood pressure.
Blood pressure is one of the most common indicators of general heart and blood vessel health. It is a measurement of the pressure that is created as a result of resistance to blood flow through the body as the heart pumps. The more blood your heart is working to pump and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure will be. High blood pressure can be an indication of high cholesterol and artery blockage causing extra work for the heart. It can go for years without any symptoms so, it is important to have blood pressure checked often by your health care provider. Left un-controlled, high blood pressure can lead to other lifestyle related diseases and serious complications such as a heart attack, when the heart itself does not receive adequate blood supply to continue pumping, or a stroke, which is a lack of blood supply to the brain.
Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure Levels:
Blood pressure is measured in two ways, systolic, the top number, which is the pressure when the heart is beating and pumping; and diastolic, the bottom number, the pressure in between heart beats when the heart is relaxed.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity and fitness
- High salt in the diet (1,500 mg per day is considered safe for most people)
- Poor overall nutrition
- Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
- Older age
- Genetics and family history of high blood pressure
- Other health conditions
Some factors that contribute to high blood pressure may be out of our control, but developing healthy lifestyle habits can play a big part in avoiding serious complications. Many of the causes of high blood pressure can be eliminated or reduced by our choices. If you have high blood pressure, or feel you have a predisposition to it, work with your health care provider and include other professionals to help you build a plan to improve. There are many things that can be done to avoid lifestyle related health conditions.
For assistance in building a plan to improve your blood pressure, search our Merchant Directory for Nutrition, Fitness, Stress Management, Smoking, or Holistic Health services.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, WebMD, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Author: Tony Montijo, BS Kinesiology, CPT, CES