What Are Your Numbers? | The Importance of Knowing Your Blood Pressure

Personally, I don’t deal with high blood pressure, but I have loved ones who do. It’s been called the silent killer because many times it does not show any obvious symptoms. Having more knowledge and being more aware of high blood pressure’s symptoms can help me keep my loved ones around longer and stay healthy.

According to WebMD, “Hypertensive heart disease is the number one cause of death associated with high blood pressure.” Healthline says, “Hypertensive heart disease refers to heart conditions caused by high blood pressure.”

A service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) relates that,

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps out blood…. and high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is an increase in the amount of force that blood places on blood vessels as it moves through the body.”

Monitoring your blood pressure numbers can be an important way to know what’s going on with your body and help make adjustments in your lifestyle if necessary.

Blood pressure results are recorded in writing using two numbers separated by a slash, for instance: 100/75. The systolic is the top (or left) number. As your heart beats, the systolic force creates pressure on the arteries.  A normal systolic blood pressure is considered to be below 120. The diastolic pressure (the bottom or right number) is indicative of the pressure on the arteries between beats, when the heart rests. A normal diastolic blood pressure is considered to be below 80.

Borderline hypertension falls within a systolic range of 120-139. The borderline diastolic range is 80-89. If blood pressure falls within these ranges it is considered prehypertension and needs to be monitored. When the ranges go higher than 139/89 it becomes hypertensive and needs to be taken care of. Why? Because heart disease is a killer, and hypertension indicates that the heart is stressed because of constant pressure being put on blood vessel walls.

Kidneys play an important role in understanding hypertension. The kidneys filter up to 150 quarts of blood each day that may result in up 2 quarts of urine that ends up in the bladder to be flushed from the body.  Kidneys function at a very small level…microscopically, and are composed of around one million filtering units known as nephrons. The kidneys not only filter but recycle reusable products from the blood back into the body.

If there is constant high blood pressure, it can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and over time scar tissue from the damage can weaken the blood flow in the entire body, as well as the kidneys. When this happens, waste and extra fluids in the body are not removed properly and the extra fluids cause more pressure which turns into a vicious cycle.

It’s so easy to find out what your numbers are. Many drug stores and grocery stores have free blood pressure monitors. Find out your numbers and if they are not in the normal range, do something about it and adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes not smoking, a low-fat diet, reducing salt and cholesterol, and exercising regularly. Studies have shown the important role massage therapy can play long term in managing stress through its relaxing effects by helping control rises in blood pressure.

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