What is blood pressure? Blood pressure measures how strongly blood presses against the walls of the arteries as it is pumped around your body by your heart.
About 30-40% of people in Ireland have high blood pressure but many don’t know. The only way of knowing if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure measured.
Your blood pressure has two figures for example 120/80. The top figure is called your systolic blood pressure which is the pressure against the wall of the artery when the heart pumps. The second figure is the is called the diastolic pressure and this is the pressure when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure results:
- Less than 120 mmHg(systolic)and less than 80mmHg (diastolic) is optimal
- 120-129 mmHg (systolic) and/or 80-84 mmHg (diastolic) is normal
- 130-139 mmHg (systolic) and/or 85-89 mmHg (diastolic) is high normal
- Greater than 140 mmHg (systolic) and 90 mmHg(diastolic) is hypertension (high blood pressure)
Remember rest for 15 minutes before taking your blood pressure and make sure your legs are uncrossed. Exercise, caffeine, alcohol and stress can increase your blood pressure so the 15 minute rest period is essential.
What are the recommendations for managing blood pressure?
- Reduce your weight
- Increase your physical activity to 150 minutes per week gradually
- Drink Alcohol in moderation only remember 17 units per week for men and 11 units per week for women
- Limit your salt intake
- Increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products
- Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor
- Stop smoking
Why is it important to control your blood pressure?
High blood pressure puts a lot of strain on the wall of your arteries.
- In the brain this can lead to a stroke or an aneurysm rupture. High blood pressure can also contribute to dementia
- In the heart it can lead to a heart attack
- Can lead to kidney failure
High blood pressure also puts pressure on the muscle of the heart causing the muscle to enlarge and can lead to heart failure.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
Unfortunately you cannot feel high blood pressure and it needs to be checked regularly by a healthcare professional.
For more information on cardiac rehabilitation and heart failure please click on the links below
Karen Cradock, Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist, Heart2Heart Cardiac Physiotherapy, www.h2hcardiacphysio.com, email@example.com, 045484000.