We all understand that it’s important to maintain a normal blood pressure. But unless you’ve had high blood pressure before, few of us know what a high blood pressure really means and how to reduce it. A normal blood pressure is essential for good health, but what does it being normal actually mean? Read on to find out…
A simple explanation…
Put simply, your blood pressure is the pressure against the blood vessel walls. It is created by your blood pumping around the body. When your heart beats it pumps blood around the body to give it the energy and oxygen that it needs. As the blood moves around the body it pushes against the sides of the blood vessel walls. The strength of the pushing is known as the blood pressure. When your blood pressure is too high it can put extra strain on the arteries, which results in a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you have high blood pressure there are no obvious symptoms and you might not feel any different. The only way to tell if it is high is to have it measured.
Measuring Blood Pressure
When you have your blood pressure measured, the result is measured in numbers. Every reading shows two numbers, or levels, that are shown as one number on top of the other.
The number on top is the measurement of your systolic blood pressure. This is the highest level that your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level that your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes.
The two numbers combined equal your blood pressure measurement. An ideal result would be below 120 over 80. If your blood pressure is over 120/80, you should take necessary steps to lower it.
Lowering Blood Pressure
An unhealthy lifestyle is often the cause of high blood pressure. It can also raise slowly over time, putting you at higher risk of heart attack and stroke. The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure by making healthy changes…
1. Reduce Salt Intake
Research shows that eating too much salt is a sure way to raise your blood pressure. By reducing the salt in your diet you will also be able to reduce your blood pressure. Avoid adding salt to your food, and make sure you are aware of the salt content in processed foods, such as crisps and bread.
2. Eat More Fruit and Veg
A healthy diet always starts with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eat around five portions a day to help lower blood pressure. For tips on how to get more fruit and veg into your diet, head to How to Get More Fruit and Veg into your Diet.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can increase blood pressure. Becoming a healthy weight can get it back in the normal range again. Take at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and choose healthy and lower calorie foods to reduce your weight and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Cut Down Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time. If you currently drink more than 14 units a week, try to reduce this. Consider only indulging in a few drinks on the weekend, or have smaller measures.
Watching your blood pressure is key to ensure you are not at high risk of heart attack and stroke. Following a healthy lifestyle will ensure you are of better over all health, along with having a normal blood pressure.
We offer on site health checks in workplaces throughout the UK. We test blood pressure, heart rate, diabetes, cholesterol, BMI, height, weight and waist-to-height ratio and the results are immediate. To find out more visit our Health Screening page.