High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension is a condition that makes the heart work harder than it should under normal conditions. It’s a clear sign that something is wrong and your body’s way of telling you that you need to take action. If left untreated it scars and damages your arteries. It can lead to heart attack, a stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, heart failure and even fatty buildups in the arteries. The fatty buildup in the arteries is a condition called atherosclerosis. High blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”, because it has no symptoms and can come as a surprise to those that are diagnosed with it.
In order to decrease your risk of high blood pressure it helps to understand what exactly it is. Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers, your systolic and diastolic ratios.
When you doctor checks your blood pressure he is looking for these two numbers.
The systolic number, or top number in the ratio, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
The diastolic number, or the bottom number, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when you heart relaxes between beats. The normal reading for blood pressure is usually less than 120/80 mm Hg.
The numbers are generally evaluated as follows:
• Normal: Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
• Pre-hypertension: 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
• Hypertension: 140 or higher systolic or 90 or higher diastolic
• Hypertensive Crisis: higher than 180 or higher than 110 diastolic
Signs You Are At Risk for High Blood Pressure
• An increased risk of developing high blood pressure if more than 20 pounds overweight
• Family history or genetic predisposition for high blood pressure
• High intake of salt
• Reached menopause
• A particular abnormality of the arteries. This is a stiffness or lack of elasticity in the tiny arteries. This is usually a symptom of individuals who are obese, do not exercise, and have a high use of salt.
Ways to Decrease Your Risk of High Blood Pressure
• Healthy diet that is low in salt, saturated fats, cholesterol and alcohol.
• Stay or become physical active. Being active and losing weight are highly beneficial in lowering your numbers.
• Your doctor my recommend purchasing a blood pressure monitor so you can check your numbers to stay on track with your program.
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