Blood Pressure: What You Should Know
Heart Health > > Blood Pressure: What You Should Know
Blood pressure is simply the pressure that is caused when your heart pumps blood into the arteries. Blood flow produces a force that pushes against the arterial walls of your heart. When your doctor is measuring your blood pressure, he or she is actually taking a measurement of the work that your heart has to do to pump the blood throughout your body.
A diet full of saturated fats and cholesterol will cause your arteries to clog and harden. When the arteries become hardened and narrowed with cholesterol, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through the arteries and throughout the body. As a result, the blood pressure caused by this increase in work by your heart is higher than normal. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is significant in that it can heighten your risk of heart attack. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to keep it monitored regularly and take steps to reduce it.
High blood pressure is very deceptive because it is not typically symptomatic yet it can cause serious complications or can even be fatal at an extreme level. In fact, a good proportion of people with high blood pressure are unaware of the problem. Heart problems that can arise as a result of high blood pressure include heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.
A blood pressure monitor is used to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor uses a cuff that is placed on the arm of a patient and inflated. The resulting blood pressure is recorded using 2 numbers that represent systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure that is caused when the heart pumps blood. Systolic measurements record the pressure of the blood against arterial walls. Diastolic pressure is the pressure that is caused in the arteries during the intervals when the heart is filling and resting.
Medical research has determined a normal range for both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after careful examination of a large number of patients. High blood pressure in adults is defined as a consistently elevated blood pressure of 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic or higher. High blood pressure, left alone, is indirectly responsible for many deaths and disability resulting from heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
You can control high blood pressure by keeping your diet low in fat, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, quitting smoking if you are a regular smoker, and limiting your alcohol consumption to a moderate level. Regular exercise will enable you to keep your weight stable. Stress management is another good way of keeping your blood pressure down. You can also control high blood pressure through the use of prescription medication. As with all prescription medication, it is advisable to talk to your doctor to see which medication is right for you.