By Stan Kitchen
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you are more than likely to have to check your daily blood pressure, which you can do through various methods. Which one suits your lifestyle and preferences is something that you should discuss with your doctor.
Before you even get that far, however, you should know what blood pressure is, how it works in your body, and how to find out what your blood pressure is. Let us start with the basics. Your blood pressure is simply a measurement of the pressure it takes for your heart to force blood out of your heart and into arteries. Arteries carry oxygenated blood throughout your circulatory system, to every cell, tissue, and organ within your body.
Lub-dub, Lub-dub, Lub-dub…
Blood pressure is separated into two terms: systolic and diastolic. The moment that your heart pumps blood through your heart, heart valves in the chambers of your heart make sounds, a sort of ‘lub-dub’. You can hear the first sound, the ‘lub’, when the heart muscle contracts, creating a systolic blood pressure. This pressure is also the first set of numbers that show up when someone is taking your blood pressure. A normal systolic blood pressure reading can range anywhere between 120 and 130. However, when the heart muscle rests, or relaxes, you hear the ‘dub’ sound, called the diastolic blood pressure. This reading normally ranges from 80 to 90 beats a minute.
While everyone is different and a blood pressure between an older person and a child can differ, general guidelines exist that decide whether your blood pressure is higher than normal. Athletic individuals normally have lower blood pressure than others, because their heart muscle is stronger and pumps more efficiently.
Taking Care of Your Heart
Keeping a normal blood pressure through a proper diet and enough exercise is not always easy. But not doing so can eventually cause the heart muscle and the linings of blood vessels to weaken or become clogged with cholesterol or plaque. Such a condition forces the heart to work harder to pump blood and provide enough oxygenated and nutrient rich blood to reach all cells and tissues.
Taking care of your heart is important, not only to your daily activities, but also for your long-term health. You should check your blood pressure regularly. If your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, do everything you can to get it back under control. Medications, a change of diet and exercise work wonders on high blood pressure. But if possible, try to prevent such measures by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Stay away from high fat foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and make sure that you exercise every day, even if it’s a walk around the block after a long day at work.
Recording your blood pressure reading, whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, can alert you to changes in your body that you might not be aware of. Take charge of your heart. After all, it is the only one you have.
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