blood pressure check

Time for a blood pressure check?

It’s world hypertension day today. When was the last time you had a blood pressure check?

The test can warn if you are at risk of developing serious problems such heart failure, heart attack, strokes and even kidney failure and dementia.

Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it’s pumped around your body. Having high blood pressure or hypertension can put increased strain on your arteries and vital organs.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) isn’t generally as serious; however, it can cause dizziness when standing up to quickly and for some it may cause black outs.

Blood pressure monitors will either measure around the upper arm or around the wrist. As the cuff starts to deflate and the blood flow starts to return to the arm it will take readings at two points.

The points are known as:

Systolic pressure – the pressure when your heart pushes blood out (top number)

Diastolic pressure – the pressure when your heart rests between beats (bottom number)

What do the readings mean?

  • Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 to 120/80
  • High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher
  • Low blood pressure is 90/60 or lower
  • Readings above 120/80 to 140/90 could mean you’re increasing your risk of developing hypertension if you don’t start to keep it under control.

blood pressure chart

High blood pressure symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nose bleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pains in the chest or stomach
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fever

The most likely causes of high blood pressure are being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, consuming too much salt and smoking.

Here are some suggestions on how to keep your blood pressure under control:

  • Eat a healthy diet – made up of healthy proteins such as fish, poultry, eggs, pulses, seeds and nuts; vegetables and fruit high in potassium. Until your blood pressure returns to normal – cut out your meat consumption, including smoked and processed meats.
  • Lose weight to get down to a healthier weight
  • Reduce your intake of salt – keep below the recommended amount of no more than 6g (approx. 1 teaspoon) of salt per day.
  • Move more – get regular exercise.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption to below 14 units a week.
  • If you smoke – give up.

If you have any concerns about your blood pressure or are experiencing symptoms listed, you must consult your doctor.

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