The Cardiac Clinic for a healthy heart Phone 0508 CARDIAC (0508

The Cardiac Clinic for a healthy heart
Phone 0508 CARDIAC (0508 227 342)
What is blood pressure?
Blood moves from your heart to all parts of your body in blood vessels called
arteries. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood on those artery walls. When your heart
beats, causing blood to be ejected from the heart into the largest artery of the body
– the Aorta – your blood pressure is at its highest. After the heart beat the heart rests
briefly before beating again, when the heart is resting your blood pressure is low.
Top Number / Bottom Number
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmhg
The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This is the
pressure generated by your heart to pump blood into the aorta.
Essentially the systolic pressure is how hard your heart needs
to work to pump blood.
The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This
is the pressure of blood as your heart relaxes beween contractions.
Essentially the diastolic blood is how relaxed your heart is between
heart beats.
What is high blood pressure?
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition where blood pressure is consistently
higher than normal. If your systolic blood pressure is high, it means that your heart is working too hard, each time it beats, to get blood out into the arteries and around your body.
If your diastolic blood pressure is high, it means that your heart is not relaxing properly between beats, and therefore it is always working harder than it should.
Blood Pressure Classification
Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)
Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)
< 120
< 80
Stage 1 Hypertension
Stage 2 Hypertension
To be classified with hypertension either your systolic
or your diastolic pressure must be consistently high.
You only need one of the pressures to be high to be
classified with hypertension.
What causes high blood pressure?
Many factors contribute to high blood pressure, including:
Cigarette smoking
High salt intake in the diet
Being overweight
Lack of physical activity
Type II Diabetes
Kidney disorders
Family history of high blood pressure
What things can be done to prevent high blood pressure or
to reduce it if it is already high?
Manage stress effectively
This is easier said than done. Stress is a normal part of life. How we cope with that stress is
important. There are many techniques to deal with stress: meditation, yoga,
breathing exercises or by being active. Every one needs to find the best
technique for them. If you have high blood pressure it is essential that you learn
how you can deal with stress so that it does not compound your blood pressure.
Regular physical activity keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy and less prone to
the problems associated with high pressure. Start by scheduling a regular walk into your
day – it doesn’t have to be a long walk at first, then build up the distance that you walk as
you get fitter. Exercise will also help you to loose eight which will help to reduce
your blood pressure.
Dietary changes
Reduce your salt intake. If you eat a lot of foods out of packets (processed foods) then
you are likely to be consuming more salt than you realise. Salt is used as preservative in
packaged goods. Reduce the amount of processed foods you eat and do not
add extra salt to meals.