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Exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressureHow can I reduce my blood pressure?

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pressing against the walls of the arteries. Each time the heart beats (about 60-72 times a minute at rest), it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.

Blood pressure is measured in ‘millimetres of mercury’ (mmHg). When your blood pressure is measured it will be written as two numbers like 120/80; first number systolic pressure and second diastolic pressure.

 

What do the numbers mean? Blood pressure readings

Blood pressure is always given as these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Both are important. Usually they are written one above or before the other, such as 120/80 mmHg. The first number is your systolic blood pressure. It is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure. It is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

Category

Systolic
(Top number)

Diastolic
(Bottom number)

Normal

Less than 120

Less than 80

Pre-hypertension

120-139

80-89

High Blood Pressure

Systolic

Diastolic

Stage 1

140-159

90-99

Stage 2

160 or higher

100 or higher


How does it affect my body?

Brain (Stroke)

 

High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke. Very high pressure can cause a break in a weakened blood vessel, which then bleeds in the brain. This can cause a stroke. If a blood clot blocks one of the narrowed arteries, it can also cause a stroke.

Heart (Heart Attack and Congestive Heart Failure)

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack. The arteries bring oxygen-carrying blood to the heart muscle. If the heart cannot get enough oxygen, chest pain, also known as "angina," can occur. If the flow of blood is blocked, a heart attack results.

High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.

Kidney (Damage)

The kidneys act as filters to rid the body of wastes. Over time, high blood pressure can narrow and thicken the blood vessels of the kidneys. The kidneys filter less fluid, and waste builds up in the blood. The kidneys may fail altogether. When this happens, medical treatment (dialysis) or a kidney transplant may be needed.

Arteries

As people get older, arteries throughout the body "harden," especially those in the heart, brain, and kidneys. High blood pressure is associated with these "stiffer" arteries. This, in turn, causes the heart and kidneys to work harder.

Limbs

High blood pressure can cause peripheral arterial disease, which can affect your legs.

Blood pressure reading chart

The Blood Pressure Chart which expressing various conditions of blood pressure are given below.

Normal Blood Pressure - Blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered normal.

High Blood Pressure - Blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is considered high blood pressure. If one or both numbers are usually high, you have high blood pressure.

Low Blood Pressure - Blood pressure that is too low is known as hypotension. The similarity in pronunciation with hypertension can cause confusion.

High Blood Pressure

Systolic pressure (mm Hg)

Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)

Stages of High Blood Pressure

 210

 120

 Stage 4

 180

 110

 Stage 3

 160

 100

 Stage 2

 140

 90

 Stage 1

Normal Blood Pressure

Systolic pressure (mm Hg)

Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)

Pressure Range

 130

 85

 High Normal Blood  Pressure

 120

 80

 Normal Blood Pressure

 110

 75

 Low Normal Blood  Pressure

Low Blood Pressure

Systolic pressure (mm Hg)

Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)

Pressure Range

 90

 60

 Borderline Low blood  Pressure

 60

 40

 Too Low Blood Pressure

 50

 33

 Dangerously Low Blood  Pressure

Blood pressure norms

Blood pressure norms have changed. Normal blood pressure is one in which the first number is less than 120 and the second number is less than 80. A first number of 140 or higher or a second number of 90 or higher constitutes high blood pressure. Numbers between those two readings are considered pre-hypertension.

The goal of blood pressure treatment is to achieve a reading lower than 140 over 90. Both numbers are important. If a person has diabetes, kidney disease or heart problems, the goal is a pressure less than 130 over 80 to 85. Your pressures are far too high. The way blood pressure is taken greatly influences the reading. A person should be seated in a chair, with feet on the floor and resting for five minutes before the pressure is registered. The person should not have smoked or drunk a caffeinated beverage for 30 minutes before the reading. The arm around which the blood pressure cuff is wrapped should have no clothing between it and the cuff, and the cuff should be at heart level. Another pressure reading ought to be recorded two minutes after the first.

How can I reduce my blood pressure?

 

The lower you can keep your blood pressure, the more chance you will have of living a longer, active life.

So the first thing you should do is to really try and cut out the junk food. Even if you are in a rush there is always a healthy alternative to the fast-food restaurant. In fact, many of the fast-food restaurants now have a healthy food menu, which include things such as salads and low-fat burgers.

You should also try and incorporate walking or running into your daily regime. This will help get the heart working more effectively and is a great way of lowering high blood pressure.

Tobacco smoke containing nicotine causes fatty deposits in the arteries of the body. This means the blood cannot flow freely around the body as it should. This leads to a greater increase in blood pressure. That's why people who regularly smoke find it more difficult to exercise as the heart cannot pump the blood as effectively around the body and the problems that the smoke causes to the lungs mean you cannot breathe as effectively as people who don't smoke.

Blood pressure diet

The following diet pattern is highly appropriate for reducing blood pressure
              
Grains                                          - 7-8 servings
Vegetables                                  - 4-5 servings
Fruits                                            - 4-5 servings
Lowfat or Fat-free Dairy           - 2-3 servings
Meats, poultry & fish                - 2 or less servings
Nuts, seeds & dry beans           - 4-5 per week
Fats & oils                                   - 2-3
Sweets                                          - 5 per week

In general, a diet that emphasizes fruits & vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy appears effective in shaving points off a blood pressure reading. In particular, shedding pounds, cutting down on sodium, boosting potassium intake and limiting alcohol are all proven ways to help control blood pressure.

Avoid taking the following herbal supplements as they may increase blood pressure: ephedra, ginseng, licorice and feverfew. On the other hand, garlic and flax seed have shown some effects in lowering high blood pressure.

Minerals such as potassium, as well as calcium, plays an important role in regulating high blood pressure. Bananas, beans, tofu and potatoes are all rich sources of potassium. Try baking, roasting or steaming when cooking vegetables. Avoid boiling as potassium leaches out into the water during cooking. As for calcium, an average adult needs at least 1000mg of calcium daily.


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