About this page
- What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
- How do I read blood pressure numbers?
- How do I measure my blood pressure?
- Normal blood pressure readings for your age
- High blood pressure if left untreated
- Who is at risk?
- Preventive measures
- Foods that can lower blood pressure
- What should I do next?
What is High Blood Pressure or Hypertension?
Did you know that high blood pressure or hypertension is one of the top silent killers? The heart uses pressure to deliver essential nutrients to our cells and organs. When the pressure is higher than normal, and with the persistent pressure against the artery walls will cause serious long-term health problems.
High blood pressure is very common due to an individual’s lifestyle, family history, or environment. Why is this condition called “silent killer”? Because it develops over-time and hypertension symptoms are unnoticeable.
How do I analyze blood pressure readings?
First, systolic blood pressure is the measure of the force or pressure the heart exerts on the artery walls every beat. Second, diastolic blood pressure is the measure of the force or pressure while the heart is at rest between every beat.
For instance, blood pressure readings for a 65 year old male:
- 130/80 mm Hg
Breaking down the example above, the number 130 is the systolic blood pressure and 80 is the diastolic blood pressure. “mm Hg” stands for units of millimeters of mercury, which is used to measure the pressure in your circulatory system.
How do I measure my blood pressure?
There are three ways to get your blood pressure checked:
- At your designated doctor’s office or primary care physician.
- An at-home blood pressure monitor (arm cuff or wrist).
- Pharmacies have blood pressure machines available for the general public.
What numbers are considered normal blood pressure for my age?
The chart on the right displays blood pressure by age, normal readings, minimum and maximum. Factors that may affect your blood pressure during the reading:
- Food or drink you consumed.
- Your body’s position (sitting comfortably in a chair with back supported or placing feet flat on the ground).
- Staying relaxed during your blood pressure reading.
Chart 1. Average blood pressure chart. The number to the left of the “/” is systolic and to the right of the slash is diastolic.
The blood pressure category chart below shows which tier you are currently in. Pre-hypertension stage is diagnosed when the patient has a systolic number of 120-129 mm Hg, and a diastolic number of 80-89 mm Hg.
Chart 2. Blood pressure category chart provided by the American Heart Association.
What happens if I have high blood pressure?
It is recommended to treat the condition as soon as possible because persistent pressure against the artery walls will damage your brain, heart, and kidneys. When the condition is left untreated, this will lead to a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, damage to kidneys, and vision.
Am I at risk?
Here are factors that may increase your risk:
- Age – Increasing age results in gradual blood pressure.
- Family History – Your bloodline raises the risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Weight – Overweight individuals or have obesity have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Nutritional Diet – Consuming a high amount of sodium and low potassium.
How to prevent or lower the risks:
- Eating a healthy diet – Eat foods rich in potassium, fiber, and reduced salt, which will result in lower chances of high blood pressure.
- Exercise – By being physically active, you can manage your weight, lower stress levels, and strengthen your heart health. It is recommended that the elderly should take a brief walk for 20-30 minutes every day.
- Avoid smoking – Cigarretes and other tobacco products contain a chemical compound called nicotine, which causes your heart to pump faster and narrow the blood vessels.
Blood pressure lowering foods to help hypertension
You may think that the condition can only be treated through medications, luckily, mother nature provides excellent nutrient dense foods that can help. Here is a brief list of foods that can lower or neutralize the blood pressure:
- Dark chocolate
What should I do next?
Schedule an appointment to consult with your family doctor. Our doctors provide tips and information to guide you to a healthier lifestyle. Call us at (714) 596-0368 and our staff will assist you.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes. It is recommended to schedule a visit with your doctor to receive the most accurate results and medical care.