Protect Your Heart, Measure Blood Pressure

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One risk factor that is within your control is blood pressure.

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is defined as the pressure from the blood being circulated in your body against the blood vessels’ walls. Blood pressure changes during each heartbeat. It will range from its maximum (systolic) and its minimum (diastolic).

How to Measure Your Blood Pressure

You can measure your blood pressure at home. You will need to purchase a blood pressure kit. The digital ones may be easier to use than the manual ones with a cuff.

  1. Avoid certain triggers before taking your blood pressure that can cause your blood pressure to rise temporarily. These include:
  • Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Caffeine
  • Stress
  • Cold Temperatures
  • Medications
  1. Take your blood pressure at the same time each day.
  2. Find a quiet place to sit and rest for 5-10 minutes before taking your pressure.
  3. Make sure there is no clothing between your arm and the blood pressure monitor.
  4. Follow the directions on the type of kit you are using.

How to Read your Blood Pressure

When you have your blood pressure taken, the blood pressure monitor will display two numbers, one on top of the other.

Top number: The systolic number records the force when the heart beats.
Bottom number: The diastolic number records the pressure when the heart relaxes.

What is a Healthy Blood Pressure?

A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. Readings that go over this but are under 140/90 would be categorized as prehypertension. Readings that consistently go over 140/90 would be diagnosed as high blood pressure or hypertension.

Blood pressure can rise or fall with changes in position or activity, but it should normally stay below the 120/80 reading. A single reading over this should not be cause for concern, but continuous readings above this range requires a visit with your medical doctor.

If your reading is consistently high, make an appointment with your doctor.

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