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Know your numbers: Blood Pressure

March 6, 2018

Blood pressure is the force necessary to carry blood to all parts of the body. It has two numbers the top number is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts (systolic blood pressure). The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is relaxing between beats (diastolic blood pressure).

Normal, healthy blood pressure is under 120/80 mmHg. You should be concerned if your blood pressure is between 120/80 to 139/89. If you have consistent readings over a period of time 140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure and you need to take steps to reduce it.

High blood pressure is one of the major risk factors for the development of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and other circulatory problems. High blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms and people with high blood pressure don’t even know it. Knowing your blood pressure is a critical piece of the clinical information needed as part of a Health Risk Assessment to assess wellness and health risk.

A number of risk factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, eating too much salt, smoking, drinking too much alcohol or a family history may contribute to high blood pressure.

Age and family history are considered “non-modifiable risk factors.” because these cannot be changed. However if you are overweight, losing as few as 10 lbs can result in a reduction in both systolic and diastolic pressures.

To prevent high blood pressure follow these key tips.

• Reduce Salt Intake. Eat less than 2300mg/day; flavor foods with spices instead of salt.
• Get Active. 30–60 minutes, 3–5 times a week or more.
• Limit alcohol to less than 9 drinks per week for women and less than 14 drinks per week for men.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Take steps to lower your stress level.
• If you smoke, Quit!!!

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