What is Blood Pressure ?
Blood pressure is the measure of the force ofblood pushing against blood vessel walls. Theheart pumps blood into the arteries (blood vessels), which carry the blood throughout the body. High blood pressure, also calledhypertension, is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and contributes to hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, to stroke, kidney disease, and to the development of heart failure.
What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading has a top number (systolic) and bottom number (diastolic). The ranges are:
Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)Elevated: 120-129 less than 80Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139 over 80-89Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above over 90 and aboveHypertension crisis: higher than 180 and/or higer than 120 – Seel medical attention immediately
People whose blood pressure is above the normal range should consult their doctor about steps to take to lower it.
Steps To Prevent High Blood Pressure
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Beingoverweight can make you two to six times more likely to develop high blood pressure than if you are at your desirable weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can make a big difference in helping to prevent and treat high blood pressure.
- Getting regular exercise: People who are physically active have a lower risk of getting high blood pressure — 20% to 50% lower — than people who are not active. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to benefit from physical activity. Even light activities, if done daily, can help lower your risk.
- Reducing salt intake: Often, when people with high blood pressure cut back on salt, their blood pressure falls. Cutting back on salt also prevents blood pressure from rising.
- Drinking alcohol in moderation, if at all:Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. To help prevent high blood pressure, limit how much alcohol you drink to no more than two drinks a day. The “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommends that for overall health, women should limit their alcohol to no more than one drink a day.Reduce stress: Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure.
- Eat less salt
Too much salt raises your blood pressure, so it is important to eat as little as possible. In fact, some people with high blood pressure may be able to avoid blood pressure medicines by cutting down on salt.
Most of the salt you eat is not what you add to your food, but is in prepared foods like bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals.
Don’t add salt to food when cooking or at the table. When shopping for food, check the labels and choose low-salt options when you can.
6. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables helps to lower your blood pressure