A message from the heart!
So we’ve all had our blood pressure checked at some point right? We’ve all heard numbers over numbers, but have you ever stopped and asked what those numbers represent? You might be aware that we should look to maintain blood pressure at 120/80 but have you ever questioned what exactly that means? Probably not, but don’t worry I’m here yet again with the science to help you understand those figures and what it all means in the bigger picture of health and wellbeing.
The top number in your blood pressure reading, the higher of the two, is known as the SYSTOLIC blood pressure. As your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body; this force creates pressure on the arteries known as systolic blood pressure.
The bottom number, the lower of the two, is known as the DIASTOLIC. This indicates the pressure of the blood in your arteries between heart beats, when the heart relaxes between contractions.
There is a third figure given during your blood pressure reading and that is your pulse rate, it is the number of times your heart beats in a minute. Heart rate and blood pressure are not the same, heart rate is measured in beats per min (BPM) and blood pressure in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) so checking your pulse is not a way of monitoring your blood pressure, you should always check in with your doctor for your blood pressure reading.
Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80 mm Hg or less and hypertension (high blood pressure) is diagnosed at higher than 140/90 mm Hg, between these two readings would be considered prehypertension, this should be taken as a warning sign to make lifestyle changes in order to bring your blood pressure back down in to the normal range.
If you know you are due for a blood pressure checkup pop along to the doctor and be confident you know what the numbers mean now, if you know you have hypertension jump on over to the food and nutrition blog for my top foods to low blood pressure.