- Hypertension is also known as a silent killer
- Regular exercise can help you regulate blood pressure numbers
- Eat a healthy diet to avoid fluctuations in blood pressure
Maintaining normal blood pressure reading is highly important to one's health. A high blood pressure can lead to various health issues like high risk of heart attack, kidney failure, brain hemorrhage or dementia. Hence, to avoid fatal consequences of high blood pressure, it is important to timely monitor your blood pressure and maintain the factors causing a high blood pressure.
Hypertension or a high blood pressure is a condition in which your blood vessels have a persistently raised pressure. It occurs when the force of blood is increased against the wall of arteries. Blood is carried in the vessels to all parts of body with each heartbeat. Hence, the higher the pressure gets, the harder the heart has to pump. Ideally the normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg. A high blood pressure is defined by levels greater than 130/80 mm Hg or 140/90 mm Hg, as per the various guidelines.
Chronic stress is a major contributor for hypertension. With a kind of lifestyle many are living today, no physical work out or increased stress levels add to the negative work load of body and hence the chances of developing a high blood pressure becomes very common.
Hypertension: The importance of measuring blood pressure
Improper measurement of blood pressure can make it difficult for people to get an appropriate diagnosis and medication. As even the slightest difference in the blood pressure levels can vary the treatment administered. It is important to check your blood pressure correctly as high blood pressure may show no significant symptoms; it gets hard for people to know if they are having a high blood pressure. Also measuring your blood pressure regularly can make you more aware about your body and can help your doctor diagnose a health problem early (if any).
Where can you get your blood pressure checked?
You can get your blood pressure checked at a health practitioner's clinic or at your home using a blood pressure monitor, it should be basis the advice of your doctor. Also, as a part of administering the treatment for high blood pressure, your doctor might ask you to make a chart of your blood pressure readings. This chart lets your doctor understand the trends of your blood pressure and helps him/her to make an effective and appropriate diagnosis.
How does the blood pressure readings get affected?
Numerous factors can affect the blood pressure readings like:-
- Anxiety of having your blood pressure taken: It is called 'white coat syndrome'. One out of every three patients having a high blood pressure checked at the doctor's clinic/hospital may get a normal blood pressure readings outside of it.
- How do you sit while taking the readings: Resting your arm on a table at the level of the blood pressure monitor and putting the measuring cuff correctly is the correct position and way of taking your blood pressure readings.
- What you drank, ate or did before taking the readings: If you smoked, consumed alcohol or caffeine or engaged in an exercise within 30 minutes of taking the readings, it might be higher.
The correct way of measuring your blood pressure
Here are a few tips on the correct way of measuring your blood pressure:-
- Empty your bladder before taking the readings.
- Sit in a comfortable and straight posture for 5 minutes before taking the readings
- Keep your legs uncrossed
- Rest your arm at a table at the chest's height
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being taken.
- The blood pressure cuff should be above the bare skin, not over clothing.
(Dr. Mukesh Goel is a Senior Consultant, Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi)
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