Monitor Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is a leading cause of many illnesses like strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease. The problem is very common, but unfortunately most people with hypertension feel perfectly well and have no idea of its potentially lethal consequences.
Blood Pressure Measurement
Blood circulates through our bodies through a network of blood vessels known as the vascular system. The heart acts as a pump, continually pushing blood around the system.
When blood pressure is measured, blood pressure monitors record two figures, for example: 120/80 mmHg. The higher number is the systolic blood pressure. This is a measure of the highest pressure in the system which happens with each contraction of the heart. The lower figure, diastolic pressure, is the pressure in the system between heartbeats. If either or both of these levels is too high, hypertension is present.
In general terms, concern is raised when the systolic pressure is above 140 and the diastolic above 90. Readings above 140/90 mmHg are considered hypertension and are further classified as mild, moderate or severe.
Sometimes, hypertension occurs as a result of other diseases, particularly kidney disease. But in many cases there is no obvious cause.
Mild hypertension can often be treated by changes to lifestyle. Weight loss and increased exercise can make a big difference for some people. But for most cases of moderate and severe hypertension, treatment with medication is necessary, in addition to lifestyle changes.
Hypertension is not a disease that can be cured, but it can be controlled. A wide variety of medications are now available and treatment is tailored to suit the particular person. For some, blood pressure may be controlled with a single tablet once a day, while others may require a combination of several different medications.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked occasionally with home-monitoring blood pressure monitors. If the level seems high, have it rechecked by your doctor. If the high reading is confirmed, investigations and treatment may be necessary.
By controlling blood pressure and addressing other risk factors like smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and blood cholesterol, many lives could be prolonged and devastating strokes and heart attacks prevented.
How To Get An Accurate Reading?
To get the best reading, it is recommended that you avoid drinking caffeine loaded drinks and smoking for at least two hours before checking your blood pressure as they can cause your blood pressure monitors to give an increase in the readings.
Sometimes, stress of being in a clinic may result with elevated readings, called ‘white coat’ hypertension, which are actually within acceptable levels outside the clinic. These people may benefit from self monitoring.
The higher your blood pressure, the greater your chances of cardiovascular disease and stroke. So, it is very important to monitor it regularly and take those medications.