High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a very common condition where the force of blood against the artery walls is higher than it should be, and, if allowed to continue, prolonged, could cause a heart problems.
Oftentimes this is a condition that develops, silently and usually without any recognizable symptom, for years before becoming a problem. Strangely enough, even people whose blood pressure is at a dangerously high usually won’t be symptomatic of the condition. That’s why high blood pressure is often referred to as the “Silent Killer”.
Blood pressure should be checked, at the least, every two years. Your doctor will often check the blood pressure in both arms to see if there’s a deviation in the numbers (systolic and diastolic—more on these words in a few). If you are over the age of eighteen, and you don’t regularly see a doctor, you can get your blood pressure checked for free at pharmacies or drug stores that have a machine and a blood pressure cuff that can take the measurement. You can also purchase an at-home blood pressure monitor.
Good and Bad Blood Pressure Numbers
There’s wide debate over the best/healthiest blood pressure numbers. The numbers are measured by an upper number, called the Systolic number (this number correlates to the to the pressure in your arteries while the heart beats), and a healthy systolic number is often thought of as being at or around 120; the lower number, called the diastolic number (this number correlates to the pressure in the arteries in between the heart beats) is considered in the healthy zone if it is at or below 80.
Blood pressure is considered normal at a reading of 120/80, but, a person can be under that number—a systolic reading of 115 is often considered optimal–and still be in good health. A bad reading, however, a reading above 120 is not necessarily something to immediately panic about. Blood pressures can vary wildly, jumping high even after a salty meal, so if you get a higher-than-normal reading, don’t panic.
Take another reading at another time of day, during the next day, etc., and see what the average is. If you’re taking your own blood pressure, and you determine that your readings are on the higher side (Hypertension is anything over 140/90—or a deviation higher or lower between the two numbers) you should consult your physician immediately to make a further plan.
If you have questions about your blood pressure, call Central Wellness today.