This Blood Pressure Quick Reference Guide can assist you in understanding the crucial facts and information about blood pressure and its implications for your long-term health.
According to Blood Pressure UK, around 16 million people in the UK are living with high blood pressure, with around one third of those people unaware of their condition.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure refers to the pressure that your circulating blood imposes on the walls of your blood vessels during its movement around your body. Overly high blood pressure can cause extra strain for your arteries and heart, and this could eventually result in severe issues, including heart attack or stroke.
What Do Systolic and Diastolic Mean?
Blood pressure measurements are expressed with two numbers, similar to a fraction. The upper number represents your systolic pressure, which is the degree of pressure imposed on your arteries when the heart muscle contracts.
The lower number represents your diastolic pressure, which is the degree of pressure on your arteries between heart beats.
Where these numbers are overly high, it can be deduced that your heart is having to work too hard to circulate blood around the body. Where these numbers are lower than the expected range, it can indicate that insufficient levels of oxygenated blood are circulating around the body or reaching the heart.
What Is Healthy (Normal) Blood Pressure?
In the UK, normal or healthy blood pressure is presently measured at any point between 90/60 (90 over 60) and 120/80 (120 over 80).
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is measured at 140/90 or above.
Low blood pressure is measured at 90/60 or below.
Source: NHS Direct
In 2017, the American Heart Association reduced their threshold point for high blood pressure to 130/80 mmHG. The result of this was that nearly 50% of American adults are now classified as living with high blood pressure. There have been indications that the UK may make a similar change in the near future.
What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?
Regular blood pressure checks are vital, as hypertension is often symptomless, meaning these tests are often the only indication of an issue.
How Can You Lower Your Blood Pressure?
Making healthier lifestyle choices, with a major focus on diet and fitness, can help to achieve the goal of maintaining a blood pressure reading of a consistently healthy level.
A diet which is low in saturated fats, salt and processed sugars is highly beneficial, as is a reduction in alcohol intake.
Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy heart. Swimming, cycling, jogging and brisk walking are all ways to increase fitness levels without placing excess strain on the heart. It is generally advised that we should engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise on five occasions per week. When considering increasing one’s physical activity levels, it is always advisable to talk to one’s doctor.
When Should You Check Blood Pressure?
Periodic checks of your blood pressure will offer an improved understanding of your health, and allow you to identify any variations. You can either book an appointment with your GP or pharmacist, or check at home with a monitor.
A home blood pressure monitor can assist your family in becoming more aware of your readings. To ensure consistency, it is advised that you take each of your readings at the same time of day. To ensure accuracy, take an average over a number of readings and avoid drinking coffee or alcohol before testing. It is also important that your heart is at rest, so don’t take a reading straight after exercise.
Kinetic’s online Blood Pressure Tool (powered by the NHS) can offer a clearer understanding of your readings.
Kinetik online blood pressure tool
The Kinetik Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor X2 Comfort
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