Blood Pressure – Why do I want to know about it?
Your blood pressure is one of the most significant vital signs that is used to check your health.
If you think about it, the blood pressure test is one of the first tests that is done whenever you seek any medical attention. Why is this? What makes blood pressure so important?
High blood pressure affects every vital organ in your whole body.
First of all, what is blood pressure anyway? It is the pressure of the blood against the artery walls. You need to have some pressure to move the blood from your heart around your body to all of your organs and limbs. It is through your circulating blood that all of the nutrition and oxygen is carried to the rest of your body and the waste and carbon dioxide is carried away from all areas of the body to be released by the kidneys, liver and lungs. If blood pressure is too high or too low it is not beneficial for your health.
Our body is filled with incredibly intricate systems that keep it going. The key organs – the brain, the heart, the kidneys, lungs, liver and your eyes – have large numbers of blood vessels flowing through them. This is why these are the organs that are most dramatically affected by high blood pressure. The heart is the pump that circulates the blood. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work much harder to pump the blood around your body. The lungs, kidneys and liver are key organs that filter the blood. Our brain, of course, is the main organ that coordinates all of the functions of the body. High blood pressure can cause the arteries to thicken. This thickening can lead to clotting and blocked blood flow and a decrease in the function of the arteries to exchange oxygen and nutrition with the tissues of these organs. High blood pressure can also cause weak blood vessels to burst and leak. Any time the blood flow to these vital organs is altered, through blockage or leakage, there is subsequent damage. The resulting damage causes heart attacks, strokes, dementia, confusion, kidney failure, vision problems and more.
Damage to your vital organs has serious impact on your health.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure typically has no obvious symptoms. It is called the “silent killer” This is why measuring blood pressure is so important. By regularly measuring your blood pressure, you can be aware of any increases and take the necessary action to lower it before any damage is done.
Normal blood pressure is 120/80. The first number is the pressure of your blood in the arteries when the heart is squeezing – this is called systolic pressure and the second number is the pressure when your heart is relaxing during each heartbeat – this is called diastolic pressure. If your blood pressure is in the range of 130/85 to 139/89 then you have high normal blood pressure. At this stage, it is best to implement lifestyle changes. However if you have diabetes, a history of heart attack, angina, stroke or renal failure then this range of blood pressure is considered too high and you must see your doctor. For everyone else if your blood pressure is from 140/90 and up it is recommended that you consult your physician for the best course of action.
There are many ways to help lower your blood pressure.
- If your blood pressure is anywhere from 140/90 or higher it is very important to see your family doctor.
- Lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on lowering your blood pressure. Losing weight, eating a healthy diet that is low in salt, reducing alcohol consumption and getting exercise are all great ways to decrease blood pressure.
- Really key things that can lower your blood pressure are: letting go of emotional upset, finding time to relax completely, doing the things that bring you enjoyment, slowing down anything you are doing and being present with it and finding ways to appreciate all that you have in your life.
It is important to be aware of your blood pressure so that you can take steps to maintain a healthy body for a long vibrant life.
The content of this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other advice or to provide a diagnosis. All specific questions or concerns must be addressed with your own health care providers. Nothing contained in this blog should replace medical advice, medical visits or recommendations from health care providers.