February the month of love, but it is also heart health awareness month.
Is your ticker in tip-top shape? Or do you have no idea?
It is important to know your heart health, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels since heart disease can sometimes have no signs and come on suddenly
One indication of your heart health is blood pressure control.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the measure of the blood flowing through as it contracts and constricts inside blood vessel walls. It is measured by two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure
- Diastolic blood pressure
Systolic Blood Pressure
Systolic blood pressure is the TOP number that indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your blood vessel walls when the heartbeats.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic blood pressure is the BOTTOM number shows how much pressure your blood is exerting against your blood vessel walls when at rest (remember diastolic = death = rest)
Total Blood Pressure
Together these numbers give your total blood pressure number which is given as a fraction with the systolic/diastolic mm Hg.
What Does Blood Pressure Mean?
Blood pressure is the amount of force that the blood is being pumped from the heart out to your arteries.
Types of Blood Pressure
So how does your blood pressure stacks up? See the numbers below:
Normal Blood Pressure
Less than 180/20 mm Hg
This shows that your blood pressure is in a healthy range.
120-139 / 80-89 mm Hg
When either the top or bottom number is out of range can be a sign of pre-hypertension. This shows you are on the brink of high blood pressure which can put you at risk for heart disease.
Hypertension Stage I
140-159 / 90-99 mm Hg
Hypertension Stage II
160 or higher / 100 or higher mm Hg
The numbers indicating high blood pressure (hypertension stage I or II) is something you should be concerned about. This can put you at risk for heart disease.
One thing to note about blood pressure is that it fluctuates throughout the day so it is a good idea to take readings on a daily basis if you have this condition
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
- Being overweight or obese
- Large amounts of belly fat (pressure is being put on the blood vessels around the organs in the abdomen causing blood pressure to rise)
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much-processed food
- Too much food high in processed salt
- High intake of sugar and refined carbs
- Large alcohol consumption (more than 1-2 drinks a day)
- Older Age
- Family History
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Adrenal disorder
- Thyroid disorder
- Sleep apnea
Who Is More Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure?
- People with family members who have high blood pressure
- Pregnant women
- Women who take birth control pills
- People over the age of 35
- People who are overweight or obese
- People who are not active
- People who drink alcohol excessively
- People who eat too many fatty foods or foods with too much salt
- People who have sleep apnea
- Has your doctor warned you about having high blood pressure?
- The good thing is that you have the power to reverse the condition.
What Can You Do To Lower Blood Pressure
- Exercise. Even just walking can help lower blood pressure
- Cut out sugar and refined carbs – added sugar and refined carbs have been found to be linked to heart disease
- Learn to deal with stress – stress is a doozy on your blood pressure.
- Cut the caffeine – if you have high blood pressure I highly recommend cutting the caffeine to one beverage a day until you get your blood pressure down to a normal level.
- Ditch the alcohol – cut back to 1 or 2 drinks a day
- Weight loss -even losing just 1-2 lbs a week can help lower your blood pressure
- Do you have high blood pressure or pre-hypertension and want help with diet control?
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