From the time we’re toddlers, having our blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office is a requirement. It’s one of the first things we have done each and every time we visit. But why is our blood pressure so important? And what do all those numbers mean?
The Basics of Blood Pressure.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Using a sphygmomanometer (I always call it a blood pressure cuff!) and a stethoscope, or an electronic instrument of the same utility, your blood pressure is taken by cutting off the blood supply to the artery in your arm, and then slowly resuming its flow. As your blood starts to move again, the first thumping sound is your systolic blood pressure. When the thumping sound stops, that is your diastolic blood pressure.
Your systolic blood pressure measures the pressure inside your blood vessels as your heart beats. Systolic Blood Pressure is the first/top number read back to you.
After the age of 50, this blood pressure reading is the more accurate one at determining how hard your heart is working. The second/bottom number of your blood pressure is our Diastolic Blood Pressure. This measures the pressure in your blood vessels between heartbeats, while your heart is resting. This number is a looked at closer for younger people.
To find your average blood pressure, you’re Doctor’s office will want to take your blood pressure several times to determine your range (since our blood pressure changes several times throughout the day). For adults, a normal blood pressure reading is under 120/80.
Average numbers between 120/80 – 139/89 are considered “prehypertension”. You don’t have high blood pressure yet, but chances are you’re on your way there. If your average numbers are 140/90 or higher, then you have “hypertension”, better known as high blood pressure.
We don’t want high blood pressure because it makes your heart work overtime and it contributes to the hardening of your arteries. It also puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. The big bummer about having high blood pressure is that once you have it, there is no cure for it (and most of us will have it by our golden years).
You can try and manage your blood pressure through diet, exercise and medication.
How to prevent high blood pressure for healthy living
If your average readings are a bit elevated, there are some things you can do NOW to help your heart out.
- Limit Alcohol
- Stop Smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat healthy
- Lower the sodium (salt) content in your diet
To take #6 a step further, when lowering the sodium in your diet, increase calcium, magnesium and potassium. The combination works to help regulate your blood pressure.
Finally, #7 has to be to read the 877MyJuicer for juice and blending recipes that can help increase your required daily amount of these essential vitamins and minerals!
So, tell us: do you have a favorite juice or smoothie recipe that you use to help regulate your blood pressure?!