Although you might be used to having your blood pressure checked by health professionals, you might not understand what those numbers actually mean. You may also not know what level your blood pressure should be to at in order to keep you as healthy as possible.
Let’s Start from the Beginning…
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure placed on the walls of your blood vessels by the circulating blood as it travels around your body.
What is High Blood Pressure – or Hypertension?
Extra strain is put onto your arteries and your heart as they try and move the blood around your body if you have high blood pressure. The continued strain of high blood pressure on your arteries can either cause them to weaken or to become thicker and less flexible. Both of these are bad for your body.
When your blood pressure is consistently high, hypertension is diagnosed. Hypertension has no noticeable symptoms and so it is often labeled as the ‘silent killer.’ The best way to manage it is by taking your blood pressure regularly.
What Does High Blood Pressure Mean for me?
Hypertension can lead to a variety of health conditions but the more severe are:
- Heart disease
- Aortic Aneurysms
- Heart attack or heart failure
This list shows only the most serious conditions caused by high blood pressure but it can cause other problems too.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
Hypotension, or low blood pressure, doesn’t always cause symptoms but treatment may be needed if it causes any of the following:
- Blurred vision
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Fainting or feeling weak in general
How Can I Tell if my Blood Pressure is Too High or Too Low?
Taking regular readings is the best indicator of your blood pressure. This can be done at a drop in session by your pharmacist or GP however, the most convenient and best way for many people is by using a blood pressure monitor to take readings at home. If you notice any irregularity in your recorded readings you can take them to your GP.
What Should My Blood Pressure Be?
Two numbers make up your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic blood pressure and this should be the highest. This is the highest pressure that your blood places onto your blood vessels as your heart pumps it around your body.
The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure and this should be the lowest number. This is the lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
A healthy blood pressure reading is considered to be between 90/60 (90 over 60) and 120/80 (120 over 80) in the UK.
You may need to visit your doctor for them to diagnose hypertension if you have a blood pressure of 140/90 or more, as this is considered high in the UK. Low blood pressure is indicated by a reading of less than 90/60.
How Can I Monitor My Blood Pressure at Home?
A reading is a snapshot of your current blood pressure and it is best not to rely on a single one. Instead, the best advice is to take several readings and make a note of them. It is important to measure your blood pressure at the same time every day and make sure your heart is at rest, i.e. don’t measure it straight after you have left the gym! It is also important to avoid excess caffeine and alcohol just before you take a reading.
Kinetik Blood Pressure Monitors have a memory built in so you can record your most recent readings. The Kinetik Health Sense App is available for free on iOS and Android and can help you track your readings over time.
When Should I Start Monitoring My Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is key to maintaining your health and wellbeing so ideally everyone should take a keen interest in it.
Information sources: NHS, Blood Pressure UK, British and Irish Hypertension Society.
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