Risk Factors for Heart Disease: Blood Pressure

What is Blood Pressure?As blood circulates
through your body,it exerts pressure against
the walls of your arteries. That pressure is what
is measured with ablood pressure device. Blood Pressure is
measured by two numbers. The top number is called
Systolic and measures thepressure in your arteries
when your heart is pumping. The low number is called
Diastolic and measures thepressure in your arteries when
they are resting and refilling. High blood pressure is something
you need to avoid in order tokeep your heart and arteries
healthy and clear of anycardiovascular disease. Blood pressure is always
best measured at rest. Ideal blood pressure is 120/80. Your blood pressure should be
less than 135/85 in the comfortof your home, and less
than 140/90 elsewhere. If you suffer from diabetes,
your blood pressure shouldalways be lower than 130/80. If
your numbers are consistentlyabove these targets, you
should consult your doctor. It is very important to take
your blood pressure followingthese easy instructions: Sit
comfortably in a chair thatoffers good back support. Uncross your legs. Place the proper size
blood pressure cuffon one of your arms. Put your arm on the arm rest so
that the blood pressure cuff isat the same level as your heart. Relax for 5 minutes
and do not talk. If you have time, take your
blood pressure 3 times. Discard the first reading
and average out thesecond and third readings. Keep a log of your
readings for your doctor. The trouble is,
high blood pressureisn’t always noticeable. Sometimes called
“the silent killer”,people can go years with
high blood pressure andnever know they have a problem. High blood pressure makes your
heart work a lot harder thannormally, and causes added
strain on your artery walls. Over time, this can contribute
to the buildup of plaque,restricting blood flow
throughout your body,which can lead to
coronary artery disease. If the artery becomes
fully blocked you couldhave a heart attack. So, what are all the health
risks associated withhaving high blood pressure?Stroke, heart attack,
heart failure, dementia,kidney disease, eye problems,
erectile dysfunction. Having a health professional
check your blood pressure isa way to find out if you might
have high blood pressure. But logging your home blood
pressure will also allow yourdoctor determine if you
have high blood pressure. There are numerous devices
recommended by HypertensionCanada that allow you to measure
your blood pressure at home. Be sure the device has
a logo indicating itmeets the standards of
Hypertension Canada. Discuss with your doctor to
learn which device is bestfor you and how to use
each of them properly. If diagnosed with
high blood pressure,your doctor will have you
focus on these three areas oflifestyle change in order to
help lower your blood pressureto a healthier level:Quit smoking. Exercise 30 – 60 minutes
a day most days a week. Eat more fresh or frozen
vegetables and fruit daily. Choose lower fat milk products,
whole grains, lean meat,fish and poultry. Limit sodium intake to no
more than 2000 mg a day. Cook more at home and
eat less processed foods. In some cases these changes
are not enough and medicationswill be needed to help
combat high blood pressure. If you have any questions or
would like to learn more,help is just a click away.

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