May is National Blood Pressure Month, a timely opportunity to turn our attention to the essentials of healthy blood pressure. Maintaining optimum blood pressure is a vital part of healthy living. According to the National Institute of Health, high blood pressure typically comes with little to no apparent symptoms. That being said, it’s important to be aware of the risk factors, as well as the preventative lifestyle measures you can take to stay healthy.
What is Blood Pressure?
“Blood pressure” is something we hear about rather often, but not a lot of us are aware of what the term actually means. Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, forces the heart to work harder to pump blood to the body. High blood pressure can lead to the hardening of arteries, kidney damage and heart failure.
This chart displays a ranges of healthy and unhealthy blood pressure. A blood pressure reading includes a top number, known as systolic, as well as a bottom number, known as diastolic. The ranges are:
- Normal: Less than 120 over 80
- Pre-high blood pressure: 120-139 over 80-89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
How to Prevent High Blood Pressure
The best way to celebrate National Blood Pressure Month is to brush up on your knowledge of the ways in which you can prevent high blood pressure. It’s possible to control most of the risk factors that cause high blood pressure, but some causes are unfortunately unavoidable. As you age, you inevitably become more susceptible to high blood pressure, but there are still a number of things you can do to prevent exceedingly high levels.
Below is a list of ways to prevent high blood pressure the natural way:
- Watch your weight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Steer clear of people who smoke
- Reduce your salt intake
- Cut back on caffeine
- Reduce stress levels
- Find a support system in family and friends
Information taken from: WebMD