Blood pressure — we’ve all had it taken at one point or another.
From when we are children until well into adulthood, measuring blood pressure is a standard portion of a yearly wellness visit and part of all doctors’ exams, no matter the type you’re seeing. Even dentists take blood pressure before administering an anesthetic for complex dental work.
While most of us don’t think twice about the little squeeze on our arm and the reading on the monitor, it can be an alarming number for some, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Understanding the diagnosis and effective ways to manage high blood pressure is key to living with the condition and regulating overall healthier well-being.
Let’s discuss high blood pressure and ways to manage it in more detail.
Blood pressure is a quantitative measurement of the force of blood pushing against your artery walls as your heart continuously pumps blood throughout your body.
To measure blood pressure, a cloth band is applied to your arm or wrist that gradually tightens to gain an accurate reading. The result is two numbers.
The top number is the systolic reading, which measures the pressure caused by your heart contracting and pushing out blood.
The bottom number is the diastolic reading, which is a measurement of the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
How Is High Blood Pressure Defined?
After your blood pressure is taken, it is categorized in one of four ways: low, normal, elevated, or high blood pressure.
- Low blood pressure, or hypotension, occurs when the systolic blood pressure is lower than 90 or the diastolic blood pressure is lower than 60.
- Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
- Elevated blood pressure is a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80.
- High blood pressure, or hypertension,is a systolic pressure of 130 or higher or a diastolic number of 80 or higher.
If you continually land in the criteria of high blood pressure, your doctor will probably diagnose you with having high blood pressure.
Anyone at any time can have high blood pressure. Nearly one-third of those who do don’t know it.
Although people with this condition may experience symptoms, many don’t, which is why it’s so important to get regular blood pressure check ups by your doctor, local urgent care center or a home monitor.
Symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Vision issues
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- A pounding feeling in your chest, neck, or ears
There are effective ways to manage and lower your blood pressure that may reduce your risk of needing to take daily blood pressure medication.
- Exercise Consistently — Regular exercise has been shown to lower blood pressure readings. Aim to add moderate exercise, such as walking or biking, into your life for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Lower Your Salt Intake — As we age, our bodies, and blood pressure, become more sensitive to sodium. According to the American Heart Association, adults should not consume more than 1,500mg of sodium daily, especially those with high blood pressure. Cutting back to 1,000mg daily is an even better option to help lower blood pressure. That equates to just under 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet — What you eat matters. Aim to fill your diet and plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Following the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure.
- Nix Smoking — Smoking increases your risk for various heart-related conditions such as an increase in already-high blood pressure and heart disease. If you currently smoke, you should consider quitting effectively.
- Get Enough Quality Sleep — Deep sleep is essential for an overall healthy body. If you’ve been told you snore or seem to stop breathing in your sleep, you should discuss this further with your doctor to determine if you have sleep apnea, which may increase your blood pressure numbers. Proper care and treatment can help to lower your pressure.
It is crucial to speak with your doctor or cardiologist before beginning a new treatment regimen or changing your lifestyle in a way that could affect your blood pressure.
Effectively Manage Your Blood Pressure With Us
At Amory Urgent Care, we believe that blood pressure readings can tell us a lot about your overall health; that’s why we take your blood pressure as part of our standard intake process. If you haven’t had your blood pressure taken in a while or are experiencing symptoms consistent with high blood pressure, we can help. Stop in anytime to get your blood pressure taken. No appointments are needed.