The Cardiac Clinic for a healthy heart Phone 0508 CARDIAC (0508 227 342) www.thecardiacclinic.co.nz 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) Normal < 120 < 80 Pre-Hypertension 120-139 80-89 Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99 Stage 2 Hypertension ≥160 ≥100 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 Stress 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. Exercise 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.
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