Understanding blood pressure readings are not complex as one may think. Those two numbers one hears when visiting a doctor or getting a reading could be easily understood. Blood pressure readings are commonly done with every doctors visit one encounters. There are also portable blood pressure monitors which are commonly found in drug stores.
Getting a proper blood pressure reading to understand if one is at risk can only be done with multiple testing done at different times. Many factors can account for a slight elevation in ones blood pressure, such as a stressful day, or even the doctor’s visit it’s self can cause one to have a higher than normal reading.
Doctor’s typically record high readings and watch for a consistently steady “high reading” before taking action. People at risk for high blood pressure that are testing themselves should do so at different times during the day and over a span of a few days to ensure an accurate reading.
Understanding one’s reading is not as difficult as it may sound. There are two numbers that account for blood pressure, the top number (the higher one, known as the systolic) and the bottom number (the lower one, known as the diastolic). When blood flows through the heart, the heart expands to release blood back into the body and contracts to take in blood from the blood vessels. A blood pressure reading is in layman’s terms, the “opening and closing of the heart.”
Systolic: The blood pressure when the heart is contracting.
Diastolic: The blood pressure when the heart is relaxed.
There are four stages of blood pressure readings:
Normal – Systolic below 120 and Diastolic below 80
People with normal blood pressure should maintain the healthy lifestyle they have already adapted.
Pre-hypertension – 120-139 / 80-89
People with pre-hypertension are at a risk for developing high blood pressure and should adopt a healthy lifestyle with changes in their diet, exercise, and salt intake.
Stage 1 Hypertension – 140-149 / 90-99
Need a complete lifestyle change; doctor’s monitor patients with Stage 1 hypertension for usually a period of 6 months, without changes in a Stage 1 patient, a medication will typically be prescribed.
Stage 2 Hypertension – 160+ / 100+ or more
Treated with a lifestyle change as well as one or more medications to lower blood pressure.
Understanding blood pressure readings is a simple process, as long as the readings are done over a period of time. People with risk factors should keep a journal of blood pressure readings to present to his or her doctor for further treatment and discussion. People with a healthy blood pressure reading should maintain the diet and exercise they have adapted, and people at risk should adopt one.