Healthy Blood Pressure

Hi Everyone!
When was the last time you got your blood pressure checked? Your blood pressure is a good indicator of your general health. High blood pressure can be not only dangerous but fatal so it is important to keep an eye on this.

The Heart Foundation suggests that normal blood pressure is generally less than 120/80 mmHg. Normal to high blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90 mmHg, and high blood pressure is greater than 140/80 mmHg. These figures represent the pressure of the blood against the artery walls on the contraction of the heart and the release. It’s rather like a garden hose and the pressure of the water against the hose. You can imagine that if the water pressure is too great the hose will burst. Likewise high blood pressure can lead to damage to the arteries and micro-haemorrhages and sometimes major haemorrhages.

One thing that makes this difficult to measure is that your blood pressure is not constant. It can rise and fall with exertion, stress, rest and sleep etc. So to get an accurate reading, you really need several readings over a short period. So don’t panic if your doctor tells you that your blood pressure is up once – it could be a one off. In fact, panicking about it will probably send it higher! It can be controlled with medication and needs to be regularly monitored.

Untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, strokes and vascular dementia. There is also evidence that keeping blood pressure levels healthy can help prevent Alzheimer’s as well. Micro bleeds from tiny blood vessels feeding the brain could cause damage that contributes to Alzheimer’s.

So, besides taking medication, if you are affected by high blood pressure, what else can one do? Most studies suggest that exercise is very important. But what kind of exercise and how much? I would recommend:

  • You need at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day such as brisk walking.
    For example golf, tennis, bike riding etc. The possibilities are endless.
  • At least 2 x 30 minute sessions of strength training each week.
    There is often the opportunity for this in gardening and housework, carrying buckets of water and vacuum cleaners around etc!

A combination of these two forms of exercise will also help prevent diabetes and heart disease. It will also make you feel more energized and is good for health generally.

Also important:

  • You need to take a little time out to relax each day.

Go get balance in one’s life, make time to do something you enjoy every day, something just for you. It’s not selfish to make time for yourself as you will be much better company for others around you.

Yours in health,
Jeni