Your blood pressure is a good indicator of your overall health. Ideally, you want it to be less than 130/80 to prevent things like hypertension. However, what does this number mean, and why should your blood pressure be less than that?
What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure measures how strongly your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries. The two numbers in a blood pressure measurement are systolic and diastolic pressure. The first number that appears is the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps blood. Diastolic pressure indicates the pressure on the artery when the heart rests in between beats.
Normal blood pressure is set at 120/80 for adults. A blood pressure of 130/80 is considered stage 1 high blood pressure. When your blood pressure is frequently at this level or higher, you may have hypertension.
Your blood pressure is affected by a lot of things. For one, age is a major contributing factor. As you age, your arteries narrow, which makes it harder for blood to flow through them. Other illnesses or organ problems raise your blood pressure. Likewise, women are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. Sometimes, daily activities such as doing strenuous physical activities, eating a lot, or stress can also increase your blood pressure.
Why You Should Keep Your Blood Pressure at Normal Levels
Blood pressure levels are an indicator of how healthy you are. It tells us that your essential organs — like the heart, brain, and kidneys — are functioning normally. Regularly monitoring your blood pressure can help with the early detection and prevention of potential health issues.
When you frequently have high blood pressure, your arteries gradually get damaged. When this happens, blood flow to your heart decreases, which can lead to several cardiovascular diseases, such as:
- Coronary Artery Disease — occurs when the arteries around the heart narrow or become blocked
- Aneurysm — when an artery becomes swollen and forms a bulge; it can rupture and cause fatal internal bleeding
- Heart Attack — a condition where the flow of blood to your heart is blocked
- Heart Failure — a condition when your heart can no longer pump enough oxygenated blood to your other organs
- Enlarged Heart — enlargement results from the heart working harder to pump blood, possibly causing heart failure and heart attack
Stroke and Brain Diseases
Narrowed blood vessels and poor blood circulation are also detrimental to your brain and can impair cognitive functions.
- Stroke — blood clots in the brain can cause impairments and sometimes even death
- Vascular Dementia — an impairment in an individual’s cognition, memory, and decision-making abilities
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) — a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain, which can indicate you’re at high risk for a stroke
Other Health Conditions
- Kidney Diseases — Blockage of blood flow can also damage your kidney’s normal functioning. It can cause kidney failure, kidney scarring, and failure of blood vessels in the kidney to filter fluid and waste.
- Eye Problems — High blood pressure can damage the arteries in your eyes. Eye problems include retinopathy, fluid buildup under your retina, and eye nerve damage. Prolonged damage to the blood flow to your eye can lead to eye bleeding, blurry vision, and even blindness.
- Sexual Dysfunction — High blood pressure can also decrease blood flow to the genitals. Men experience sexual dysfunction as an effect of hypertension more than women.
How to Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
Maintaining normal blood pressure has a lot to do with keeping a healthy lifestyle. However, for some individuals with hypertension, medications are sometimes needed because the risks are higher. Here are some things you should do to reduce your risk of hypertension:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Moderate or cut down your alcohol intake
- Quit smoking
- Manage stress
- Eat a balanced diet
- Have regular medical checkups
Urgent Care Center in Rochester, New York
Regular medical checkups can benefit your health in a lot of ways. Monitoring your vitals, like your blood pressure, and chronic disease management can get you ahead of the possible illness and complications you might develop. Prevention is always better than a cure.
Reach out to us at the Cornerstone Urgent Care Center for in-house diagnostic testing and your other medical needs. You may contact us at (585) 207-0088 or send us a message to let us know you’re coming. We are open from 8 am to 8 pm Mondays to Fridays and 9 am to 7 pm during the weekends. We look forward to helping you live a healthier life!