What is Blood Pressure?
- Blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls
- It rises during the beat of the heart and falls in between heartbeats
- There are two blood pressure ranges known as Systolic and Diastolic. They are normally written with Systolic before or above Diastolic blood pressure. For example 120/80 mmHg.
What is Systolic Blood Pressure?
- The pressure as the heart pumps blood out from the ventricle into the veins.
What is Diastolic Blood Pressure?
- The resting pressure which is between beats when the pressure decreases before the next heart pumping action.
What is classed as a normal blood pressure?
Below is a table of blood pressure categories from Normal to Hypertensive Crisis (see reference at bottom).
What are some of the risks of high blood pressure?
- Heart damage – Hypertension narrows the arteries and blood cannot flow freely to the heart, meaning the risk of a heart attack is increased
- Kidney damage – Hypertension can damage the kidneys and then waste cannot be filtered from the blood
- Bone damage – Hypertension can cause excess calcium elimination, resulting in loss of bone density and Osteoporosis
- Brain damage – Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the brain, causing them to rupture or leak
- Eye damage – Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to a loss of vision
What lifestyle changes can help to reduce blood pressure?
- Don’t smoke – After smoking one cigarette, your blood pressure will rise for a significant amount of time. Quitting smoking will help bring blood pressure back to normal.
- Less alcohol – Although some studies show a moderate amount or alcohol can help to reduce blood pressure (1-2 units per day) consuming alcohol in excess can actually increase it.
- Less salt (sodium) – Sodium intake should be below 2,300mg per day, or even better kept below 1,500mg per day. Even a small decrease in the amount of sodium consumed can reduce blood pressure by approximately 5-6 mm Hg. Reducing the amount of processed food consumed and replacing with naturally occurring foods can help to reduce sodium intake.
- Exercise more for a healthier weight – In those who have high blood pressure, just 3 hours of exercise per week can reduce blood pressure by approximately 5-8 mm Hg if done consistently. Consistency is key if you want to keep your blood pressure down. If you stop exercising, then your chances of a blood pressure increase heighten.
Remember these are all lifestyle changes, they shouldn’t be looked at as temporary but something you are considering changing for the rest of your life, for the better.
Not sure what your blood pressure is?
Members of Acresfield Health Club & Spa can book in for a Health Check. One of our experienced Gym Instructors will check your blood pressure during the appointment. If you’re a member and would like to book in for a Health Check you can call us on 01995 604975 or contact us online.
Written by Anthony Cheetham from the Acresfield Fitness Team.