February 19, 2014

Check Your Blood Pressure... If Not for Yourself, Do It for Your Heart!

Check Your Blood Pressure... If Not for Yourself, Do It for Your Heart!

Mohammed Murtaza, MD, FACC - Cardiologist

We've all had our blood pressure taken. It seems like just one more thing the doctor or nurse does - wrapping that strap around your arm and then inflating it until you feel that tight squeeze on your arm. But that minor step in your doctor visit can tell a lot about your health.

What is Blood Pressure?
Sure, someone tells you, "118 over 70," but what does that mean? Is that good? Bad?

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this: 118/70 mm Hg. The top number is your systolic reading. It measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts). The bottom number is the diastolic reading, which measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).

Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. A single high reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. However, if readings stay at 140/90 mm Hg or above (systolic 140 or above OR diastolic 90 or above) over time, your doctor will likely want you to begin a treatment program to lower your blood pressure. Such a program almost always includes lifestyle changes and often prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher.

What Does Blood Pressure Mean for My Heart?
High Blood Pressure (HBP), in general, has no signs or symptoms. Some have it for years without knowing. But during that time, HBP can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of the body.

So knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you're feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent damage to your body's organs.

If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you're at risk for health problems. The risk grows as blood pressure numbers rise. "Prehypertension" means you may end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it.

When Should You Have Your Blood Pressure Checked?
It's always good to have your blood pressure checked, even as a young child going to the doctor's office. But after age 20, it's a good idea to check it regularly. Those with certain medical conditions might have to check it often, but the average adult in good health should check it a few times a year at least.

Luckily, you don't have to visit your physician every time you want a blood pressure reading. There are hundreds of at-home blood pressure monitors for sale. Think about picking one up for you and your family.

Again, untreated Hbp can cause more serious heart problems.

John Smith
John Smith

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Donec vitae sagittis leo. Nunc suscipit purus vel risus laoreet sagittis. Duis tincidunt cursus magna.


No comments yet. Why not be the first?

Leave a comment

Community Talk

  • JUN10

    Can weather affect your aching bones?

    Last reply by Cindy Powers on Jun 09 5:44 PM

  • JAN23

    Safe Winter Driving

    No replies yet

  • NOV02

    Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

    Last reply by Test Test2222 on Jan 04 8:48 AM

Join The Discussion

What's Happening inYour Community

  • OCT28

    Breast Cancer Screenings

    Aria - Bucks County Hospital

See All Events

    Join the Conversation

    Join the YourAriaHealth online community to receive Aria news, general health and wellness information, and connect with other members!

    Register Now

    Already a Member, Sign In

Join The Discussion