How to interpret blood pressure readings?

Hypertension or high blood pressure is called the silent killer. It does not cause pain or any particular discomfort. As humans, we tend to ignore things that do not cause us pain or interfere with our jobs or recreation until is too late.

Hypertension contributes to the development of congestive heart failure. Awareness of high blood pressure is the first step in managing it.

Screening is easy and accessible. Health fairs, many local health food stores, and local pharmacies offer to screen.

Not only physicians, but other medical professionals like Ophthalmologists who begin to recognize the impact of high blood pressure on every aspect of your health are now offering screening and blood pressure measurements in their office with each visit. Some dentists now offer it.

Blood pressure definition

Early diagnosis and treatment increase your long-term success. Blood pressure measurements are usually over the crook of the elbow. There are other places that could work effectively.

The cuff inflates and cuts off the blood supply. As the cuff deflates, at some point, the blood flow starts again. The blood pressure instrument recognizes the point the flow begins and assigns a number to that.

During blood pressure readings, doctors and nurses do the same thing by listening for the sound of the flow with a stethoscope while watching the meter to determine the millimeters of mercury at which the blood does starts going through the artery again.

This first number is the systolic number, the top number in your blood pressure measurement.  It represents the highest pressure against which the heart is pumping.

Imagine a group of people trapped in a room, behind closed doors and those behind them keep pushing against them.

As the door opens the first group that rushes in carries the most pressure behind them.

The bottom number is your diastolic number or the lowest amount of pressure in the artery.

What does low blood pressure mean?

There are four general categories in blood pressure and its association with cardiovascular disease.

Normal is considered to be below 120/80. Those in this range without the use of medication are considered healthy without the need for lifestyle change as far as their blood pressure is conserved. There is some evidence that 110/70 maybe what should be considered. The jury is out on this one.

could continue as they have before

A ratio greater than 120/80 but Less than 140/90 is prehypertensive. This is the early detection and where lifestyle changes are recommended and it brings the optimal long-term results.

Over 139/89 and less than 160/100 is stage 1 hypertension. This is where more serious and more specific recommendations including different medications enter the picture to lower your pressure.

Ratios over 60/100 are stage 2 hypertension. The number of lifestyle changes and medications to control blood pressure increases for this stage.

It is important to remember that high blood pressure is often correlated with age and obesity but even children and teens could have hypertension. Awareness and early is your first line of defense at any age.  As you begin this journey of monitoring your blood pressure remember that your nutrition and your food selection have a huge impact. And there are natural vasodilators that can help you.