What is Blood Pressure?
When your heart beats, it pushes blood through the body, delivering blood and nutrients to its tissues. As blood travels, it pushes against blood vessels. This is what is referred to as blood pressure.
How is it measured?
Blood pressure can be taken by a machine or manually by a trained professional using a cuff and stethoscope. Readings will come with two numbers – the top number, systolic, and the bottom number diastolic.
Systolic blood pressure is the highest number and is a measure of the pressure exerted as the heart muscle contracts forcing blood out of the heart.
Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number and is a measure of pressure between heart beats when the heart muscle expands and blood reenters.
Blood pressure is considered ‘normal’ if it is 120/80 (read 120 over 80) or lower.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Blood pressure can normally fluctuate from day to day or depending on stress levels. However, if it is consistently at 140/90 or higher, it is possible you have high blood pressure.
If you have consistent high blood pressure, excess stress is placed on arteries and organs which can have detrimental effects on the body. High blood pressure will cause force to be exerted on artery walls, which can lead to tears and the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause narrowing of the passageway where fat, cholesterol, or other materials can get caught. This forces the heart to work harder to pump blood through (further increasing blood pressure). A stroke occurs if this blockage is located in a carotid artery that delivers blood to the brain or if a piece of the blockage breaks and travels to the carotid artery or brain.
If you have any questions, or want a consultation with a professional, feel free to call, or schedule an appointment online at any of our Bergen County or Passaic County offices in New Jersey. Choose from Glen Rock, Franklin Lakes, Fair Lawn, Ridgewood/Ho-Ho-Kus, and/or Clifton – we make it possible for you to visit any of our offices at your convenience.
Other Risks of High Blood Pressure
- Heart Failure – Heart can’t pump enough oxygenated blood to organs, can cause organ failure.
- Heart Attack – Blood supply to heart is blocked and does not receive enough oxygenated blood.
- Kidney Disease – Can cause damage to arteries and blood vessels in kidneys, decreasing their ability to filter blood.
- Aneurysm – bulge in an artery do to prolonged increased pressure. Can rupture overtime and cause internal bleeding.
Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Usually, high blood pressure is treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.
If you are at risk or currently are diagnosed with Hypertension, the following list covers things that can help bring it down and keep it within safe levels:
- Exercise consistently
- Eat less salt
- Decrease consumption of processed foods
- Decrease consumption of fried and fatty foods
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Stay in a healthy weight range
- Get more sleep (aim for 8-10)
- Stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system (down regulate) by doing activities you find relaxing and enjoyable
- Drink less alcohol
- Limit coffee intake