30 Aug What is Blood Pressure and how to get a handle of it
Understanding your blood pressure can help you identify whether you are at an increased risk of developing heart, stroke or blood vessel disease. In addition to this, a recent study published in The Lancet (2019) suggests that if high blood pressure is left untreated, it can also impact long term brain health, increasing the likelihood of cognitive decline seen in the onset of illnesses such as dementia. In this article, we share some blood pressure fundamentals and how you can ensure you are staying on top of your biometrics to keep your mind and body stay healthy.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood into your body’s organs and tissues (Heart Foundation, 2019). The heart pumps blood to the body via the arteries, distributing oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. Blood pressure is a measurement associated with the pressure of blood within the arteries.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers, one on top and one on the bottom (ie. 120/80 mm Hg). Both numbers are incredibly helpful in determining your state of heart health. The top number is called systolic pressure and refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscles. The bottom number, referred to as diastolic pressure relates to the blood pressure in between heartbeats. It is important to regularly measure your blood pressure to determine what your baseline is as there are many factors that can contribute to higher or lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, is generally anything over 140/90mmHg, can cause your heart and arteries to be overloaded and leads to a higher risk of health concerns such as heart or blood vessel disease or stroke (Heart Foundation, 2019). Factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, stress and an unhealthy diet can play a significant role in contributing to higher blood pressure, so it is important to remind yourself to make healthy swaps to ensure your blood pressure stays within a healthy range. Additional behaviours such as exercise and whether you have consumed a caffeinated beverage can also result in a spike in blood pressure. Low blood pressure, known as Hypotension, is generally anything under 90/60mmHg. Although not as dangerous as high blood pressure, hypotension can result in feeling dizzy, faint and nauseous. To help keep your blood pressure within a normal range, remember to drink plenty of water.
Get a handle of your Blood Pressure.
As Blood Pressure naturally has its ups and downs it’s important to try and determine a baseline. Measure your Blood Pressure and Heart Rate on a medically certified SiSU Health Station as part of your free 4-minute health check to measure, track and improve your health over time and achieve your health goals. Find a SiSU Health Station near you today.
Lane, C., Barnes, J., Nicholas, J., Sudre, C., Cash, D., Parker, T., et al. 2019. Associations between blood pressure across adulthood and late-life brain structure and pathology in the neuroscience substudy of the 1946 British birth cohort (Insight 46): an epidemiological study. The Lancet Neurology, Elsevier.
The Heart Foundation, 2019. Is my blood pressure normal? Accessed via https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/blood-pressure/is-my-blood-pressure-normal