Hypertension: Fighting the Silent Killer

One constant advice that we hear from our physician is to exercise and adopt a balanced diet. It is indeed the best decision you can take especially as you start aging. Yet one thing that we see the doctor every time we visit, however do not emphasize its importance, is controlling our blood pressure. Some might not even understand what the numbers mean and will only go by what the doctor recites and what tips he gives us to change those numbers. However, what exactly do those readings represent?  Let us break it down for you.

The blood pressure of our bodies is seen as a fraction (for example 118/78).  It is measured in mmHg or millimeters of mercury.  The top value of the fraction represents the Systolic Blood Pressure and it will always be higher than the value on the bottom of the fraction.  It represents the pressure of the arteries as the heart is beating and contracting. The number on the bottom is the Diastolic Pressure.  It measures the pressure in the arteries at the intervals between heartbeats.

From the moment you turn 20, the American Heart Association recommends that monitoring of your blood pressure be done every two years.  If your readings are usually higher than what is considered normal (120/80) then screenings should be done more often.

Chart of the BP Categories according to the AHA

Category

Systolic (upper #)

 

Diastolic (lower #)

Normal

Less than 120

And

Less than 80

Prehypertension

120-139

Or

80-89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1

140-159

Or

90-99

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2

160 or Higher

Or

100 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency Care Needed)

Higher than 180

or

Higher than 110

 

Why is it so important for you to understand your BP?

Your BP is monitored to make sure that all the tissues within your body are getting the regular amount of oxygenated blood supply to properly function. High blood pressure can become a true menace to someone. It is actually known as the silent killer.  The reason for this is that it carries no symptoms and can lead to life threatening complications.  By monitoring your blood pressure, you are watching over your entire body and protecting your body from sudden heart attacks or strokes.

Technology now allow you to control your blood pressure at home or anywhere you go with the many portable and digital monitors that are available to the public at online stores such as Discount Medical Supplies.

These are a couple of examples of effective and easy to use BP monitors:

Advantage Ultra Automatic Digital BP Monitor w/Software

Invacare Deluxe One Touch Digital Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor

Important tips when monitoring your blood pressure.

Before you sit down to monitor your blood pressure make sure you have rested for at least 15 minutes.  While you are doing the entire process, refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking.

1)      You need to use the right size cuff and make sure that the sensor is placed correctly over the brachial artery.

2)     Relax, put your feet on the floor, support your arm on a flat surface, and sit up straight.

3)      Do the process multiple times

4)      Do the process at similar times every day.

5)      Write down all the readings not only to understand them better but also to show them to your physician if he requests it.

6)      Be on the lookout for high reading especially if they are often.  High blood pressure can be extremely dangerous.

If you are using a wrist monitor

1)      Place your arm out with the palm of the hand facing up.

2)      The digital panel must be place on the inside of the wrist and looking up.

3)      Relax and keep the wrist is at heart level

4)      Do the process multiple times.

5)      Do the process at similar times every day.

6)      Write down all the readings not only to understand them better but also to show them to your physician if he requests it.

7)      Be on the lookout for high reading especially if they are often.  High blood pressure can be extremely dangerous.