Blood pressure is just as important like other aspects of your body when it comes to health. For a quick review, blood pressure is the force that pushes the blood against the walls of your blood vessels. When this gets too high, you will risk yourself on getting health conditions such as heart diseases and stroke just to name a few.
A sphygmomanometer is a device that is used to measure blood pressure. It measures how hard your heart is pumping out blood by looking at the mercury (or mm Hg) at the device. Blood pressure is written in two numbers. The top one measures the force of the blood against the artery walls and the bottom one shows the force of the blood when the heart is resting between contractions.
There are specific guidelines for blood pressure to determine if it’s normal. When it gets too higher than the guidelines, this is where hypertension comes into play.
High Blood Pressure = Silent Killer
- High blood pressure, commonly called as hypertension doesn’t show any symptoms, which means if left untreated, may lead to various health conditions. Blood pressure with a number of 180/120 or higher has an 80% chance of death if left untreated within a year. The average survival rate only lasts up to 10 months. If no action has been taken, different kinds of conditions will start to appear such as heart attack, blindness, stroke, and kidney disease.
Out with the old, In with the new
- These are the guidelines for a normal blood pressure which was created back in 2003 are as follows:
- normal: less than 120/80 mm Hg
- pre-hypertensive: systolic between 120-139 or diastolic between 80-89
- stage 1 hypertension: systolic 140-159 or diastolic 90-99
- stage 2 hypertension: systolic 160 or higher or diastolic 100 or higher
- hypertensive crisis: systolic 180 or higher or diastolic 110 or higher
- However, in November 2017, the guidelines were revised by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology and are now shown as:
- normal: less than 120/80 mm Hg
- elevated: systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
- stage 1 hypertension: systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
- stage 2 hypertension: systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
- hypertensive crisis: systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
- The biggest difference between the two is the absence of “pre-hypertension” in the newer one. But nonetheless, studies have shown that complications still exist when blood pressure reaches their low at 130-139 over 80-89.
- The category change is also eminent in the comparison above. The same reading that’s supposed to be pre-hypertension is now categorized as stage 1 hypertension. This is done so that earlier treatment is encouraged to prevent further health conditions.
Things You Can Do to Lower Blood Pressure
- There are several things you can do to help control your blood pressure. These lite lifestyle changes can go a long way to keep you going without worrying of getting hypertension.
- Incorporate the DASH Diet into your daily diet plan. This diet consists of eating lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Move more and do more by engaging in physical activity. Do some exercises for at least three times a week. Not only it helps on managing blood pressure, but also helps on weight management as well.
- Limit your sodium intake no more than 1500 milligrams a day. The lesser the better, and you can use different kinds of spices to your dishes instead of opting for salt.
- Drink less alcohol than before. It’s still okay to drink but make it no more than two glasses a day. Or better yet, stop drinking alcohol for the rest of your life.
- Learn how to do stress management. Stress plays a vital role in our body and it is important to cope up with such to lessen our blood pressure levels.
- Quite smoking, you will be surprised how this single change can create a huge impact to your overall health.
So there you have it. With just a few little changes to your lifestyle, you can make your blood pressure levels turn back into its normal state. However, even though we have a healthy lifestyle, it’s sometimes still isn’t enough to maintain a safe blood pressure. If your blood pressure still continually rises despite your efforts, taking medication is your final resort.