What is Blood Pressure (BP)?
When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
How you can tell if you have high blood pressure?
Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is not usually something that you feel or notice. The only way to know what your blood pressure is to have it measured and It does not tend to produce obvious signs or symptoms.
How can I measure Blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in ‘millimeters of mercury’ (mmHg) and is written as two numbers. For example, if your reading is 120/80mmHg, your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’.
What do the numbers mean?
- Every blood pressure reading consists of two numbers or levels. They are shown as one number on top of the other.
- The first (or top) number is your systolic blood pressure. It is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats.
- The second (or bottom) number is your diastolic blood pressure. It is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Precaution to be taken before measuring your blood pressure
- Rest for 15 minutes before taking blood pressure
- No Eating, Drinking or Smoking while resting
- Remove any constrictive clothing or jewellery that may interfere with cuff placement
Click here to know how to use a home blood pressure monitor
Keep your blood pressure low
Even if you do not have high blood pressure at the moment, it is important to keep your blood pressure as low as you can. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems.
For example, a blood pressure of 135 over 85 may be “normal” but someone with this reading is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115 over 75.
How to lower your blood pressure with diet tips
An unhealthy lifestyle will raise your blood pressure over time. And the higher your blood pressure becomes, the higher your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future.
- Blood Pressure Diet – Eat less salt
- Blood Pressure Diet – Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Blood Pressure Diet – Keep to a healthy weight
- Blood Pressure Diet – Drink less alcohol
- Blood Pressure and Exercise – Get more active for 30 minutes at least five times a week
What is normal blood pressure?
Ideally, we should all have a blood pressure below 120 over 80 (120/80). This is the ideal blood pressure for people wishing to have good health with lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
If your blood pressure is optimal, this is great news. By following our healthy living advice, you will be able to keep it this way.
If your blood pressure is above 120/80mmHg, you will need to lower it.
Most adults in the India have blood pressure readings in the range from 120 over 80 (120/80) to 140 over 90 (140/90). If your blood pressure is within this range, you should be taking steps to bring it down or to stop it rising any further.
Tips to keep blood pressure normal
The reason why people with blood pressure readings in this range should lower it, even though this is not classified as ‘high’ blood pressure, is that the higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems.
For example, someone with a blood pressure level of 135 over 85 (135/85) is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115 over 75 (115/75).
What is low blood pressure?
Many people worry about low blood pressure (hypotension), but probably don’t need to.
Some people have a blood pressure level that is lower than normal. In general this may be good news – because the lower your blood pressure is, the lower your risk of stroke or heart disease. However, in a few cases, having low blood pressure can cause problems, so you might need to speak to your doctor.
What is a low blood pressure reading?
A low blood pressure reading is having a level that is 90/60mmHg, or lower.
What causes low blood pressure?
Some people have a blood pressure level that is naturally low. That is, there is no specific cause or reason why.
However, some health conditions or medicines can cause you to develop low blood pressure.
Is low blood pressure dangerous?
Usually, having low blood pressure is not a cause for concern. However, sometimes your blood pressure can drop to a point where you may feel faint or dizzy.
If you find that your blood pressure is suddenly much lower than usual, there may be a reason for this. Speak to your doctor. So, they should be able to decide on the most appropriate treatment for you
What is high blood pressure?
You probably have high blood pressure (hypertension) if your blood pressure readings are consistently 140 over 90, or higher, over a number of weeks.
High blood pressure can also cause heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia.
What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have yours measured. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Many things can affect your blood pressure through the day, so your doctor will take a number of blood pressure readings to see that it stays high over time.
Occasionally people with very high blood pressure say they experience headaches, but it is best to visit your General Physician if you are concerned about symptoms.
What causes high blood pressure?
For most people, there may be no single cause for their high blood pressure. We do not know exactly what causes high blood pressure. We do know that your lifestyle can affect your risk of developing it. You are at a higher risk if:
- you eat too much salt;
- you don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables;
- you are not active enough;
- you are overweight; or
- you drink too much alcohol.
- Some people may have high blood pressure that is linked to another medical condition, such as kidney problems. For these people treating the medical problem may lower their blood pressure back to normal.
You can help to lower your blood pressure – and your risk of stroke and heart attack – by making lifestyle changes.