Blood Pressure: what you need to know


Blood Pressure

The golden numbers for blood pressure are 120/80. This is an ideal values that does not change with age. As your BP gets higher than these values, it means that your heart is either having to work extra hard to get the blood out around the body, or isn’t getting enough relaxation in between beats, and can eventually cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.


What do the numbers mean?

Systolic BP. This is the pressure when your heart contracts and pushes the blood out and around the body. Systolic blood pressure is the more variable of the two and is influenced by things such as caffeine, nicotine, exercise, stress, anxiety, stimulants, laughing, nervousness, alcohol and excitement.


Diastolic BP. This is the pressure of your heart relaxing between beats. This is the most important value, and the one that you don’t want to be changing too much.


Blood Pressure Classifications

Low BP = 90/60 or less. Having a low blood pressure is generally no cause for concern, although sometimes it may cause you to feel light headed or dizzy.


Ideal BP = Between 90/60 and 120/80. Your heart is ticking along nicely.


Pre-Hypertensive BP = Between 120/80 and 140/90. If your blood pressure is in this zone it is still a normal reading, but if you are sitting towards the higher end and, if this reading persists, now would be a good time to start making a few lifestyle changes to prevent it from creeping up any higher.


Hypertensive BP = 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is consistently in this zone it’s time to make some changes to improve your heart health. A visit to your GP is also recommended.


Ways to improve your Heart Health:

  • Decrease the amount of salt in your diet. Apart from fresh produce, many of the items we regularly eat contain salt. Although our bodies do require a small amount of salt, too much can cause serious damage. You can reduce your salt intake by not sprinkling it onto your meals, reducing your processed food intake or by choosing the reduced salt options.

  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake

  • Get exercising. Exercise strengthens the heart and sweating is a great way to get rid of excess salt in your body

  • Cut back on your alcohol intake

  • Reduce smoking or stop completely

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