Tips When Your Blood Pressure Is Taken
- Don’t drink coffee or smoke cigarettes 30 minutes before having your blood pressure measured.
- Before the test, sit for five minutes with your back supported and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arm on a table at the level of your heart.
- Wear short sleeves so your arm is exposed.
- Go to the bathroom prior to the reading. A full bladder can change your blood pressure reading.
- Get two readings, taken at least two minutes apart, and average the results.
- Ask the doctor or nurse to tell you the blood pressure reading in numbers.
Tips to Lower Your Blood Pressure
- Lose excess weight
- Exercise more
- Quit smoking
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat low-fat dairy products
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid alcohol
It’s an important health screening and yet so easy that we often over- look it. That’s why high blood pressure is called the “silent killer.”
Blood pressure is the force your heart uses to circulate your blood. It’s measured in two numbers, the systolic (top number) and the diastolic (bottom number). The systolic number measures the heart beat; the diastolic reading measures the heart’s relaxation.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, means your heart is working harder and harder to circulate your blood. No one can withstand that for long without some damage taking place. High blood pressure greatly increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
Blood flows through your body like water flows through a pipe. If water pressure builds and builds, the pipe will burst. In the case of high blood pressure, the force of the blood actually damages the lining of the arteries. The injured arteries eventually stiffen, which in turn increases blood pressure even more. Unchecked, the high pressure will cause tiny capillaries in your kidneys, liver and eyes to burst, often causing irreversible damage.
Studies show that artery damage can begin even at a blood pressure level once considered normal. The risk of heart disease and stroke starts to increase at readings as low as 115/75. It doubles for each increase of 20/10. And, even people whose readings are normal at age 55 have a 90 percent chance of eventually developing high blood pressure.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked. While 50 million Americans have high blood pressure, only 30 percent of them know it.
Maintaining your good health depends on the prevention and control of high blood pressure.