Blood Pressure and Your Health
Information from the Center for Disease Controls tells us that about 1 of 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States.
High blood pressure is called the "silent killer" because it often has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people don't realize they have it. That's why it's important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent high blood pressure, or to treat it if it is already high. You must see your physician on a regular basis to insure your blood pressure is under control and being managed properly.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time.
Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless. A doctor or health professional wraps an inflatable cuff with a pressure gauge around your arm to squeeze the blood vessels. Then he or she listens to your pulse with a stethoscope while releasing air from the cuff and watching the gauge. The gauge measures blood pressure in millimeters of mercury, which is abbreviated as mmHg.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first (systolic) number represents the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second (diastolic) number represents the pressure in your vessels when your heart rests between beats. If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say "120 over 80" or write "120/80 mmHg."
Use the online Journaling tool on this website to easily track your Blood Pressure. All you need is to join the site and check out the Member Journaling tools.
For instance, it can harden the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. This reduced flow can cause—
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart failure, which occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
- Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from a lack of oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
High blood pressure can burst or block arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, causing a stroke.
A portion of the information above has been provided by the Center for Disease Control. As always, consult your healthcare professional/physician before you start any regular exercise program. If you feel you are at risk for high blood pressure, see your physician.