by CK Dillon · Filed Under: African American Baby Boomer Health Alert
Boomers, Do You Know Your Blood Pressure?
The term blood pressure refers to the force which is applied by your blood, as it pushes against the walls of your arteries.
Your particular blood pressure depends on several factors; the strength of the heartbeat, the thickness of your blood, the volume of your blood, the elasticity of your artery walls, and last but not least, your general health.
It’s Vital That We Know Our Blood Pressure
Why should we check our blood pressure regularly? Because frankly, if you’re like me, we don’t need any more surprises!
High blood pressure is sneaky. Often while displaying no symptoms at all, it can be the cause of serious health problems, including, but not limited to, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and stroke.
Blood pressure normally rises with age and body size so this information applies to everyone.
We boomers have managed to have a pretty good time over the last 60 years, and many of us are now discovering that we could have taken better care of our bodies.
You’ve probably heard the statistics; with our diets heavy on the salt, and so on, we experience an above average incidence of high blood pressure (HBP) within our community.
Most of the time, there are no symptoms, but some symptoms that may occur include:
- Chest pain
- Ear noise or buzzing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Vision changes
If you have a severe headache or any of the symptoms above, see your doctor right away. These may be signs of a complication of dangerously high blood pressure called malignant hypertension.
So Have Your Blood Pressure Tested ASAP!
A blood pressure test is normally done by your doctor’s office or a clinic and there are some precautions you can take before your test.
Steps you should take 30 minutes prior to the test:
- Don’t drink any coffee.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes or tobacco of any kind. This may cause a short-term rise in your blood pressure.
- Go to the bathroom, because if you have a full bladder it can alter your blood pressure reading.
- Sit for 5 minutes immediately before the test, because movement can cause short-term rises in blood pressure.
During the Blood Pressure Test
In order to measure your blood pressure, a health professional will use either some type of gauge, stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff.
Ordinarily you will be asked to sit or lie down and they will attach a blood pressure cuff around your arm. Your doctor or nurse will then check your blood pressure. Always ask the results of the test, even if they don’t offer you the information up front. You need to know your numbers.
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The ranges for normal blood pressure and HBP are based on the average blood pressure numbers for age, gender, and height.
What Does a Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure Mean?
If you’re diagnosed with HBP, you will need treatment. You also will need to have your blood pressure tested again to see how treatment affects it.
Once your blood pressure is under control, you will need to stay on treatment. “Under control” means that your blood pressure numbers are normal. You also will need regular blood pressure tests. Your doctor can tell you how often you should be tested.
The sooner you find out about HBP and treat it, the better your chances to avoid problems like heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
At each beat, your heart pumps blood into your arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, when it is pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure.
When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
condition of circulatory system: unusually high blood pressure in the arteries.
It encompasses atypical elevation of either the peak blood pressure at each heartbeat systolic pressure, or the running pressure between heart beats diastolic pressure, or both.
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure reading uses two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures.
Usually they are written one above or before the other. A reading of:
- 120/80 or Lower is Normal Blood Pressure . . .
- 140/90 or higher is High Blood Pressure . . .
- 120 and 139 for the Top Number is Pre-Hypertension . . .
- 80 and 89 for the Bottom Number is Pre-Hypertension . . .
The good news is high blood pressure can be controlled through healthy lifestyle habits and, if needed, taking medication.
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