An image demonstrating why blood pressure matters

Why Checking Your Blood Pressure Matters

Blood pressure is defined as the force your heart uses to pump blood through your arteries. Your blood pressure is measured using two numbers – systolic and diastolic pressure. Each time your heart beats, it exerts pressure on the walls of your arteries, this is your systolic blood pressure. On the other hand, when your heart is resting, the pressure within your arteries is called diastolic blood pressure. Knowing your blood pressure is very important because it gives you information about the health of your heart.

What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?

According to the American Heart Association, the ideal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or less, indicating that your heart is healthy. A person has high blood pressure when it is greater than or equal to 130/80 on two different occasions or on two different visits to your healthcare provider. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get regular blood pressure checks. Hypertension indicates your heart is working extremely hard to pump blood through your arteries. This will lead to a variety of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. If your heart is struggling to pump blood to the rest of your body, the rest of your organs are not receiving an adequate blood supply and oxygen, thereby leading to damage to many organs.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Some of the things that can contribute to you developing high blood pressure are smoking,  obesity, lack of physical activity, too much salt intake, constant stress, excessive alcohol consumption, old age, and family history. If you have high blood pressure, you may need to take medication to control it. But you can also make lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure. These changes may include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.

How Do I Prevent Hypertension?

Hypertension is often called a “silent killer” because people may not show any symptoms until it’s too late. Therefore, getting regular blood pressure checks is crucial to identify and manage high blood pressure. The sooner you recognize that you have high blood pressure, the quicker you can receive care to prevent adverse effects. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, you can prevent Hypertension by eating fruits and vegetables, a diet low in salt and saturated fat, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, getting enough sleep, and cutting down on caffeine intake.

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