What is Blood Pressure? As blood circulates
through your body, it exerts pressure against
the walls of your arteries. That pressure is what
is measured with a blood pressure device. Blood Pressure is
measured by two numbers. The top number is called
Systolic and measures the pressure in your arteries
when your heart is pumping. The low number is called
Diastolic and measures the pressure in your arteries when
they are resting and refilling. High blood pressure is something
you need to avoid in order to keep your heart and arteries
healthy and clear of any cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure is always
best measured at rest. Ideal blood pressure is 120/80. Your blood pressure should be
less than 135/85 in the comfort of your home, and less
than 140/90 elsewhere. If you suffer from diabetes,
your blood pressure should always be lower than 130/80. If
your numbers are consistently above these targets, you
should consult your doctor. It is very important to take
your blood pressure following these easy instructions: Sit
comfortably in a chair that offers good back support. Uncross your legs. Place the proper size
blood pressure cuff on one of your arms. Put your arm on the arm rest so
that the blood pressure cuff is at the same level as your heart. Relax for 5 minutes
and do not talk. If you have time, take your
blood pressure 3 times. Discard the first reading
and average out the second and third readings. Keep a log of your
readings for your doctor. The trouble is,
high blood pressure isn’t always noticeable. Sometimes called
“the silent killer”, people can go years with
high blood pressure and never know they have a problem. High blood pressure makes your
heart work a lot harder than normally, and causes added
strain on your artery walls. Over time, this can contribute
to the buildup of plaque, restricting blood flow
throughout your body, which can lead to
coronary artery disease. If the artery becomes
fully blocked you could have a heart attack. So, what are all the health
risks associated with having high blood pressure? Stroke, heart attack,
heart failure, dementia, kidney disease, eye problems,
erectile dysfunction. Having a health professional
check your blood pressure is a way to find out if you might
have high blood pressure. But logging your home blood
pressure will also allow your doctor determine if you
have high blood pressure. There are numerous devices
recommended by Hypertension Canada that allow you to measure
your blood pressure at home. Be sure the device has
a logo indicating it meets the standards of
Hypertension Canada. Discuss with your doctor to
learn which device is best for you and how to use
each of them properly. If diagnosed with
high blood pressure, your doctor will have you
focus on these three areas of lifestyle change in order to
help lower your blood pressure to a healthier level: Quit smoking. Exercise 30 – 60 minutes
a day most days a week. Eat more fresh or frozen
vegetables and fruit daily. Choose lower fat milk products,
whole grains, lean meat, fish and poultry. Limit sodium intake to no
more than 2000 mg a day. Cook more at home and
eat less processed foods. In some cases these changes
are not enough and medications will be needed to help
combat high blood pressure. If you have any questions or
would like to learn more, help is just a click away.