Know Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is called hypertension. Hypertension does not mean emotional
tension. What it does mean is that the pressure, or tension, in your blood vessels
is too high.
"Bellissima" by Judy Lodwick, Australia
High blood pressure is a silent killer. There are no symptoms until the pressure
is too high, or it causes damage to vital organs, like the heart or kidneys. Everyone
needs some blood pressure in their arteries. When your heart beats it pumps blood
through the arteries (or pipes) to bring nourishment to the tissues. The force of
the blood against the walls of the arteries is called the blood pressure. The systolic
pressure occurs after the heartbeat and is the higher reading. The lower pressure,
or diastolic pressure, is the pressure in the arteries in-between heartbeats. If
the arteries or pipes become narrowed or clogged, then the heart has to pump harder
to deliver the blood to the tissues, and the pressure in the arteries goes up. If
the pressure in your arteries is 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or more, and
remains at that level, you have high blood pressure (hypertension).
What Are the Consequences of Uncontrolled Hypertension?
Hypertension can cause strokes, heart attacks, heart and kidney failure.
How Can We Prevent Hypertension?
• Weight reduction
• Eating a low sodium diet
• Minimizing alcohol intake
• Regular exercise
If these lifestyle changes do not control or prevent hypertension, then drug therapy
Control of other risk factors that interact with blood pressure is also important.
Smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes accelerate the damage by high blood pressure
on the heart and blood vessels. Therefore, it is important to manage and control
all of these factors.
Remember, high blood pressure may cause no symptoms.
You need to have your blood pressure measured at least once per year. Control of
high blood pressure can add years to a happy life!