Recent research in America and Australia has found that we may need to tighten blood pressure guidelines to further reduce risk of stroke, heart failure & kidney disease.
Here we look at how blood pressure is measured, the current guidelines, why we need to maintain good blood pressure and how we can bring down or maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings are a combination of two measurements;
- Systolic - is the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart pumps. The normal systolic pressure is usually between 110 and 130mmHg.
- Diastolic - is the pressure against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills with blood. The normal diastolic pressure is usually between 70 and 80mmHg.
Currently GP's class 'normal' blood pressure to be 140/90 or below and anything above as high. From the recent studies in America and Australia, we are now being told the new normal will be 120/90 or below and anything above will be classed as high blood pressure.
High blood pressure means that your blood is pumping with more force than normal through your arteries. The added stress on the arteries can speed up the clogging of arteries with fatty plaques. These plaques contribute to illnesses such as heart attack and stroke.
Ways to bring down your blood pressure include;
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet, that is low in salt & processed foods
- Exercise every day
- Give up smoking
If this isn't enough, you may have other factors to consider and may need to be put on blood pressure medication.
If you haven't had your blood pressure checked in a while or have any concerns please visit your GP for a check up.