Why is it Important to Check Blood Pressure Often
When did you last have your blood pressure taken? Last week? Last month? Last year? Can’t remember? If you are one of those people who has a yearly or two yearly check-ups and is content with the fact that your blood pressure is okay then: you should think again about the importance of monitoring regularly your blood pressure. If you haven’t heard of the silent killer: read on.
When we talk about blood pressure, it is the blood’s pressure in your arteries that we are referring to. As the blood flows through the arteries it creates a force on the artery walls. We measure blood pressure in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). When you are given a reading you are given two figures. The first is the pressure when the heart beats (known as systolic pressure); the second when the heart rests (known as diastolic pressure).
Normal blood pressure ranges between 90/60 and 140/90. If your blood pressure is below the first reading (90/60), it is considered low. If the pressure is too low, a condition known as hypotension, the amount of blood reaching your brain and other organs may be restricted. The consequence is that you may become light headed and dizzy. Low blood pressure can be caused by the time of the day, your age, how relaxed you are, the temperature, your diet and the amount of exercise you do.
High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is above the second reading (140/90) it is high, a condition known as hypertension. This is potentially much more serious than low blood pressure. High blood pressure may not present you with any obvious symptoms: and for this reason it is often called the silent killer. There are many people who have high blood pressure and are unaware of this until something happens. Quite simply without having your blood pressure taken you may never know if you have high blood pressure. For this reason, you should have your blood pressure taken regularly.
Let me spell this out to you, again. High blood pressure is the silent killer. Why is it so called? Because you may well have high blood pressure and be unaware of the fact. The only way you can know that you have high blood pressure is by measuring your blood pressure.
Diseases Associated with High Blood Pressure
The diseases associated with high blood pressure do not make for happy reading. High blood pressure places a greater strain on your heart and arteries. This increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure can also lead to kidney disease and may have links with some types of dementia.
To repeat a point once again: you never know if you have high blood pressure without measuring it. However, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the chances of your developing high blood pressure. If you fall into any of these categories, you should consider having your blood pressure measured regularly.
If you are overweight
- Do a little exercise
- Have a relative with hypertension
- Eat a good deal of salt
- Hardly eat fruit and vegetables
- Drink a lot of caffeine
- Drink a lot of alcohol
- Are over the age of 65 years
The truth is that there is probably no single cause of high blood pressure. We know that the factors listed above are likely to increase your chances of suffering from hypertension. You will, of course, meet people, or more likely hear stories of people, who seem to ignore all of the risk factors and not have high blood pressure. They are the exceptions to the rule. More likely, the rule just hasn’t caught up with them yet.
Therefore, you have little to lose by monitoring your blood pressure regularly. On the contrary, you have everything to gain.
*Data Courtesy: Aiden Korr worked in medical research for over twenty years. He now writes and lectures on health and allied subjects. He has long been an advocate of the importance of blood pressure monitoring and the importance of interpreting the results using a blood pressure chart.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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