World Hypertension Day: Why it matters to know your blood pressure numbers?

measuring blood pressure

Most of you would have, at some point, had your blood pressure (BP) checked, maybe during a regular doctor’s consultation, before treatment, or as a part of your annual health checkup. Blood pressure readings, measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury), consist of systolic (pressure during heartbeats) and diastolic (pressure between heartbeats) values. It is important to know your BP numbers as they can tell a lot about your health. Did you know if your blood pressure remains high constantly, it can trigger the onset of cardiovascular diseases? Here’s everything you need to know about blood pressure numbers.

Understanding your blood pressure numbers

If you have ever had your blood pressure checked, you must have noticed the two numbers that are displayed on the blood pressure machine. Understanding these two components is crucial because they provide different insights into cardiovascular health:

1. Systolic pressure

The higher number on the blood pressure reading is referred to as the systolic blood pressure. The force applied to the artery walls during cardiac contractions is reflected in systolic pressure, which represents the heart’s workload.

2. Diastolic pressure

Diastolic pressure, which shows the resistance to blood flow in the peripheral vascular system, is the pressure in the arteries at the resting heart. It is the lower number on the blood pressure reading.

Know your diastolic and systolic blood pressure numbers. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

As for the global consensus on normal blood pressure, it is commonly stated as “120 over 80” mm Hg, which is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mm Hg.

Knowing your blood pressure numbers tells a lot about your health!

This number wields a lot of power. It influences many decisions related to treatment and health risks for an individual. Your blood pressure will help you determine whether you can take medication or make changes in your lifestyle if you should proceed with your scheduled elective cataract surgery, or if you can perform activities like weightlifting or even riding roller coasters.

These numbers help establish what is normal for people considered healthy and for those diagnosed with hypertension. It determines what controlled versus uncontrolled hypertension means, guiding you to seek medical treatments and make lifestyle changes.

Also Read: 6 light exercises you can do to control high blood pressure

How to know your blood pressure baseline?

Here are some simple steps in which you can identify and record your personal Blood Pressure baseline from the comfort of your home:

  • Step 1: Use a validated and properly calibrated blood pressure monitor. Ensure that the cuff size fits your arm correctly. Discuss with your healthcare provider regarding the validity or calibration of your device.
  • Step 2: Measure your blood pressure twice a day for 7 days. Ensure it is at the same time every day, ideally in the morning and evening. Each time take 2 readings, at least 1 minute apart.
  • Step 3: Measurements taken on the first day should be discarded and the average value of the remaining days after day one should be used.

Also Read: Keep your blood pressure in check with these 5 healthy drinks

When is the best time for a blood pressure reading?

Measure it daily while sitting in the same location, preferably, using the same device. It is not advisable to take your blood pressure right away after waking up or after exerting yourself. Avoid eating or drinking anything thirty minutes before taking your blood pressure. It is better if you pee before you take the reading.

What are the benefits of knowing your blood pressure baseline?

Here are some reasons why knowing your personal baseline is beneficial to you:

1. Prevents the preventable

Blood pressure is a primary indicator of your cardiovascular disease risk. By knowing your numbers, you can take timely preventive measures and eliminate this risk. Those with high blood pressure may need to make some lifestyle changes, take medication, or other interventions to lower their risk.

2. Helps determine your fitness levels

Your blood pressure readings can have a significant impact on your fitness routine, and it is important to adjust your activities accordingly to ensure your safety and well-being. Knowing your numbers helps ensure you are indulging in activities with the right intensity and duration as well as adjusting your diet to maintain your average.

3. Redefines your normal

High blood pressure has had its definition redefined over time. Blood pressure numbers like 140/90 mm Hg was also considered within the normal range many years ago. As our lifestyles continue to evolve, it becomes crucial for us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of our overall health and the baseline blood pressure proves to be an excellent proxy indicator of this.

Also Read: 6 lifestyle changes to reduce risk of high blood pressure

4. Keeps kidney health in check

When it comes to kidney health, high blood pressure poses a direct threat as it can hamper the functionality of the renal blood vessels, thus compromising the role of the kidneys in waste removal from the bloodstream. It is important to monitor both blood pressure and blood sugar levels to avoid kidney damage.

woman with kidneys in hand
Keeping your blood pressure in check will help keep kidney health in check too. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Enhances medication management

Knowing your blood pressure baseline is vital for effective medication control in case of hypertension or other cardiovascular issues. Monitoring your BP numbers will also help you understand if the medication is working for you, which will in turn help your healthcare provider make changes in their prescription.

6. Improves overall well-being

Maintaining optimal blood pressure levels is not just about preventing cardiovascular disease, it is also essential to maintain overall well-being. Proper blood pressure management can lead to better sleep, improved cognitive function, and enhanced quality of life. By prioritizing your blood pressure health, you will be investing in your long-term wellness and vitality.

When to seek medical assistance?

If you experience symptoms such as severe headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, or dizziness, or if your blood pressure readings are consistently high or low, or fluctuating into the hypertension range, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

The post World Hypertension Day: Why it matters to know your blood pressure numbers? appeared first on Healthshots.