Hypertension or high blood pressure affects nearly three in every 10 Indians, which makes it a matter of concern. High blood pressure can lead to several health issues including some serious ones. But how many of us know what exactly is high blood pressure? Not many of us. Here in this article, we tell you what is blood pressure, high blood pressure and the right way to take your readings.
Your blood travels from your heart to all the other body parts and while travelling it pushes against the walls of the blood vessels. This force is called blood pressure. When you measure your blood pressure, there are two numbers on the machine display.
The number on the top is the systolic blood pressure, which tells the force against your artery walls as your heart contracts to pump out blood. This is when your BP is at its highest.
The number at the bottom is the diastolic blood pressure, which occurs between the heart beats when your heart is resting to gear up for the next pump. This is when your BP is at its lowest.
Any reading beyond 120/80 is considered risky and should be brought in the notice of your doctor.
Your blood pressure is temperamental, even a minor factor like sitting incorrectly can give you an inaccurate reading. Here are three simple steps you need to follow to get the correct blood pressure reading.
Rushing to your doctor’s office can elevate your blood pressure, which can give an elevated reading. Before taking the reading, sit down and keep quiet for a while. Do not speak even when the doctor is taking the reading. Sometimes, even small talks can take up the systolic reading by 10 to 16 mm Hg
Many people suffer from white coat syndrome, which basically means experiencing anxiety in a medical setting. Such people should speak up about being stressed as not speaking can lead to even higher reading.
Do not have coffee until you are done with your doctor’s appointment. Having coffee can temporarily spike your blood pressure.
Before you get your blood pressure measured, take a trip to the bathroom because sometimes a full bladder can stimulate adrenaline like hormone that often raises BP.
Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Sitting cross-legged or dangling feet can bump up the systolic reading. Make sure to support your arm, as the diastolic reading can be affected by the arm position. Sit on the armchair instead of the exam table, to support your arms.
Low blood pressure isn’t harmful until you experience dizziness, nausea, fainting, headache, confusion or light-headedness. If you have any of these symptoms, please visit your doctor.
Hypertension can occur when there is plaque build-up in the arteries, which causes your blood to exert extra force as it tries to squeeze through the narrowed tubes. High blood pressure is called the silent killer as in many cases it does not have any symptoms, which makes checking your blood pressure regularly even more important.