Over the past few months we have been completing our body MOT testing which as part of it includes having your blood pressure checked.
We have been asked by many people about what is a normal blood pressure level and what it means.
Blood pressure in a simple sense is the pressure in the circulatory system i.e. the heart and the blood vessels around the body.
It is defined by two numbers. The first, or top number when it is taken is called the systolic number. That is the pressure inside your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom value or diastolic number is the pressure in the system between the beat of the heart.
An optimal blood pressure level is 120/80mmHg or lower, and high blood pressure is defined as 140/90 mmHg or higher, whatever your age.
Keeping your blood pressure closer the optimal levels is important because the higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of health problems in the future. If your blood pressure is high, it is putting extra strain on your arteries and on your heart!
This may ultimately lead to conditions such as a heart attack or stroke. The lower your blood pressure the lower your risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease will be.
Your blood pressure can also be temporarily affected by many factors. Overuse of stimulating drinks such as tea, coffee and alcohol can cause sudden increase in the blood pressure in a short period. Increased weight, pain and hormonal imbalance can also be attributed to sudden increase in the blood pressure.
In about 1 in 20 cases, high blood pressure occurs as the result of an underlying condition or medication. Other factors that can raise the risk of having essential hypertension include obesity; diabetes; stress; insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium; lack of physical activity; and long-term alcohol consumption.
If you are concerned about your blood pressure, ensure you get this checked at your GP practice.
Here at Urban, we undertake a blood pressure check with every person taking a body MOT test.
1. Walk and exercise regularly. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.
2. Reduce your sodium intake. Increased salt intake has increased in the world largely due to amounts added in take away and ready made meals.
3. Drink less alcohol. Look at reducing even a small amount out of your weekly consumption by finding alternative none alcoholic drinks.
4. Eat more potassium-rich foods. Examples include bananas, oranges, spinach, sweet potatoes plus much much more.
5. Cut back on caffeine by having some decaffeinated drinks through the day.
6. Learn to manage stress. Look at yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and mindfulness classes as a means to manage and relieve stress.
7. Keep your weight under control. Ensuring that you consume less calories than you require per day.