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Blood Pressure Readings: Know Your Numbers

To keep our heart health, we should pay attention to the maintenance of the normal blood pressure as it may provoke a heart disease or stroke. So, keeping control of it is vitally important. To know the situation, you have to check your numbers at least once in several months. But how can you know if your numbers are good or not? And why is it so significant to know them at all? Let’s have a look!

How are the blood pressure indexes deciphered?
Our arterial pressure reading consists of two numbers: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The first one is the pressure in your blood vessels at the moment when a heart pushes out the blood whereas the latter number is the pressure in your arteries in the intervals between the heart beats, in the moment of rest.

Norm or hypertension: how can you know?
For diagnosing hypertension there is no need to pass any tests as blood pressure is measured with the help of sphygmomanometer – a special device, which is easy to use even at home. With its help you will be able to monitor your blood pressure without turning to the doctors.

To understand the meaning of blood pressure readings that you’ll get, you have to know what is considered normal and what is not.

American Heart Association differentiates five categories of blood pressure:
1. Numbers, which do not exceed 120/80 mm Hg are considered normal;
2. Indexes from 120 to 129 mm Hg in systole and less than 80 mm Hg in diastole may be interpreted as elevated blood pressure;
3. Numbers between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg signal about the first stage of hypertension;
4. The second stage of the ailment is when the figures reach 140/90 mm Hg or higher;
5. Blood pressure readings over 180/120 mm Hg are the sign of hypertensive crisis and demand immediate medical attention.

What factors promote the development of hypertension?
Any rise in our blood pressure may signal about the wrong lifestyle choices we make. Besides, there is a number of other factors, which may cause hypertension:
• Weight. Excessive body mass influences the condition of our blood vessels and heart;
• Age. Hypertension mostly affects people over 60, yet the number of patients over 30 or even younger is growing steadily;
• Alcohol consumption and smoking;
• Underlying health conditions (heart disease, atherosclerosis, kidney issues).

What should be done to get your blood pressure back to the norm?
The treatment of hypertension is not fast. In some cases, you may need a life-long therapy and take some pills on the daily basis. Besides, your healthcare provider will likely to recommend you to make lifestyle changes, in particular:
• Drop smoking if you have such a harmful habit.
• Do physical exercises at least 30 minutes a day.
• Make changes in your nutrition. Add fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil, lean meat and try to avoid full fat dairy products, processed food and fast food. Sugar-sweetened beverages should also be excluded.
• Learn to manage stress.
• Reduce the amount of caffeine you take.

Unfortunately, such measures may be effective only for elevated arterial pressure and the first stage of hypertension (to some extent). If your numbers have crossed 140/90 mm Hg, you are sure to start medical therapy of hypertension.

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