Monitoring blood pressure is one of the vital components in medical care. Every individual must make it a point to have regular health checkups that include sugar level test, blood pressure test, etc. Blood pressure levels indicate the status of our health and hence it is something that must not be taken lightly. Various factors affect the blood pressure and heart rate and some of them include
- Alcohol intake
- Emotional state
- Lack of sleep
All these factors affect the blood pressure and the readings may vary according to the body condition of the specific individual. Before going in-depth into the topic of blood pressure, it is mandatory to know what blood pressure is and how it is measured.
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is nothing but the measure of the force exerted by the heart to circulate and pump blood to various organs in the body. The pulse rate, also known as the heart rate is defined as the total number of times the heart beats in a minute. The reading provides information about the current health status of the individual. In general, blood pressure readings have two numbers. The number which appears on the top is the systolic blood pressure and the bottom one is diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure (high) refers to the amount of pressure exerted by the heart when it pumps blood to different parts of the body. Diastolic blood pressure (low) is the pressure that is measured when the heart relaxes between the beats.
What does your blood pressure say about your health?
The ideal blood pressure for a person is 120/80mmHg. This indicates that the person is healthy. If this reading is maintained, the person will have fewer chances of heart attacks and heart diseases. If your blood pressure is 90/60 or less, it indicates that you have low blood pressure. This can happen due to various reasons and may vary accordingly. One must consult a doctor is the blood pressure is always on the lower scale.
A blood pressure reading between 120/80 and 140/90 indicates a healthy reading, but a slight higher. People who fall under this category must take steps to reduce the blood pressure from 140/90 to 120/80. Those who have a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90 suffer from hypertension. Such people have higher chances of getting heart attacks and stroke.
How your body position affects blood pressure?
When it comes to monitoring blood pressure, three types of body positions are taken into consideration.
- Sitting position
- Supine position
- Standing position
Most of the medical health care professionals take blood pressure readings of patients in the sitting position. In this position, the arm rests on the table. The patient should sit in a chair that has back support. His/her feet should be firmly placed on the ground. The arms should not be held tight when taking blood pressure as it may affect the readings.
At times, blood pressure readings are taken in the supine position. This happens mostly in the hospital emergency departments. The blood pressure reading is taken when the patient is lying flat on his/her back. Whatever may be the posture of the body, the readings should be interpreted accordingly by the healthcare provider. There might be slight changes in the reading, but it should be noted according to the patient’s posture.
In certain cases, the blood pressure is noted when the patient is in the standing posture. This happens with those who are above the age of 70 and those who are undergoing treatment and medication for blood pressure. The reading taken in this position is quite low when compared to those taken in other positions. Such type of readings is taken to identify the blood pressure of patients suffering from postural hypotension.
Tips for maintaining healthy blood pressure
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is a must for every individual. Given below are some of the tips to have normal blood pressure.
- Eat a balanced diet and keep your body fit.
- Include fruits, green leafy vegetables and dairy products with low fat.
- Avoid including too much salt in your food.
- Indulge in any kind of activity ranging from walking to swimming.
- Reduce the intake of alcohol.
- People who are obese tend to have high blood pressure. One should keep this in mind and start exercising to reduce weight.
- It is also important to limit the intake of caffeine as it may increase the blood pressure.
- Smoking is one of the most dangerous activities that lead to various types of diseases. People who suffer from high blood pressure should make it a point to avoid smoking.
- Sleep disorders can also pave way to high blood pressure. It is advisable to sleep for at least six to seven hours per day to maintain normal blood pressure.
- Monitoring your blood pressure is something that you must not ignore. You can also maintain a sheet with your blood pressure readings to note if there are any changes.