One of the most important vital statistics we count on to determine our health can be blood pressure. Whenever we go to the doctor, that’s the first thing the nurse does, right? If blood pressure is so important, do we know what good or bad blood pressure actually is? Often you hear numbers and a certain look on your doctor’s face, depending on your results. HPFY can give a little insight into what is considered normal blood pressure.
When we get our blood pressure results, what exactly do these numbers mean? The numbers you hear when your doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure are the systolic and diastolic values. To most of us these terms mean nothing, but they are quite important. Systolic pressure is the pressure that is created by the heart while beating as opposed to diastolic pressure which is the pressure in between beats of your heart. Your systolic pressure is the first number in blood pressure readings, while diastolic pressure is the lower number (hopefully) and is recorded in mmHg (which is millimeters of mercury). Depending upon your readings your doctor may determine that your blood pressure is high, low, or just right. Let’s hope for the Goldilocks zone where everything is just right!! Low or high blood pressure can be classified as:
• Hypertension: This is high blood that can result in heart disease and stroke. Risk factors for high blood pressure include obesity, high alcohol intake, and smoking among other factors.
• Hypotension: It is considered low blood pressure when your blood pressure reading is lower than 90/60 and can be a sign of low blood flow to the brain, heart, and other organs. This can become more common as we age.
While a “normal or optimal” blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg or lower, these are rough guidelines and can be different from patient to patient. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings for hypertension can be as follows:
While high blood pressure gets more attention, the complications from low blood pressure (hypotension) can be just as serious. As we age it can become common to have lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. With fainting and dizziness a key symptom of low blood pressure falls can become common for those that suffer from low blood pressure. These falls can lead to breaks and fractures that have serious complications especially in the elderly. Blood pressure readings can indicate a more serious underlying health issue. Some systolic and diastolic low blood pressure readings can include:
High blood pressure can cause health issues such as heart disease, heart attacks, and even strokes while low blood pressure can cause dizziness, weakness, and fainting. In today’s world of technology, a simple wireless blood pressure monitor makes keeping an eye on your readings easy and convenient. You may also want to explore the possibility of using blood pressure supplements to help maintain a healthy blood pressure reading.
Your blood pressure results will dictate how often you should actually be checking your blood pressure. For normal blood pressure, your doctor may suggest checking it once a year or more depending upon family history or lifestyle choices. If your doctor discovers that your blood pressure is elevated (pre-hypertension) he/she may want your blood pressure checked every 3-6 months. This can also apply to a diastolic pressure of lower than 80. This can also be accompanied by suggestions for lifestyle changes and/or exercise. For higher blood pressure readings, your doctor may opt for the same 3-6 months checkup as well as medication to lower your blood pressure. Often, your doctor may suggest testing your blood pressure at home since there is a real condition that elevates your blood pressure in the doctor’s office. This can be called White Coat Hypertension and is related to the stress of visiting the doctor. You could do this with a portable blood pressure monitor or a wrist blood pressure monitor. These can allow you to check your blood pressure regularly in the comfort of your own home.
Regardless of your blood pressure reading, it is a great piece of advice to closely monitor it for changes that may indicate a serious health issue. Whether you have your blood pressure tested at the doctor’s office or at home, any change should be relayed to your physician in the event medical intervention is necessary. Be proactive and stay healthy!!
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Hi there, my name is Kevin Cleary. I was born in Westchester County in 1966 on December 3. I lived there until 1973 when my family moved. I graduated from high school in 1984 and then attended college in New ...
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