What is blood pressure? — It is the pressure of the blood in your artery. Arteries are blood vessels (tubes) that take blood away from the heart. Blood pressure is usually measured using a machine called a sphygmomanometer. Electronic versions may be bought for home use. blood pressure is usually written as a fraction, the top number is the highest pressure and is called systolic. The lowest pressure is called diastolic. The two pressures correspond to when the heart is contracting and relaxing respectively
Why is it important – Blood pressure is necessary for blood to get around the body to where it is needed.
When one’s blood pressure is too high it becomes a condition known as hypertension. This condition increases the risk of:
- heart attack,
- heart failure,
- stroke and
- kidney disease.
On its own, it doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. Symptoms only appear when it becomes very high, this includes:
- Severe anxiety
- Shortness of breath
- Nose bleeds
When blood pressure is too low it is called hypotension. Symptoms of this include:
What is normal number for blood pressure
|Level||Top number||Bottom number|
|High||130 or above||90 or above|
|Prehypertension||120 to 129||80 – 89|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
How do I know if I have high blood pressure? — Attend your doctor or pharmacist to get your blood pressure tested. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure you may be put on tablets to reduce it. Make sure you take your tablets as advised. If you have any side effects or the tablets are too expensive, speak to your doctor so it can be changed to a different one.
Taking your blood pressure tablets prevent serious diseases and save your life
Is there anything I can do myself — The things you do can change your blood pressure. Some of the following can help reduce your blood pressure:
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Choose a diet low in sugar and saturated fat, take plenty of fruits and vegetables,
- Reduce the amount of salt you eat
- Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
- Reduce or don’t drink too much alcohol
It’s also a good idea to get a home blood pressure meter. Checking blood pressure at home can improve the ability to keep it low and may even reduce the number of drugs one has to take.