Pressure And You
Maybe you're heading to the doctor to check on your cough, fever or unrelenting aches and pains, but whatever it is, you can be assured your health care provider will put on the cuff and take your blood pressure. Why, you ask? Because it can help signal potential trouble that you need to know about now!
A word about blood pressure
In everyday terms, blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of the arteries responsible for carrying oxygenated blood to the body. Blood pressure is measured in two ways — the systolic measure over the diastolic — so it's important to have an accurate reading of both to know where you stand. Compare your results to the average measure of blood pressure, where the reading of systolic over diastolic is approximately 120 over 80.
Signs and symptoms
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is when your body isn't sufficiently delivering proper blood flow to the body, and this may result in several symptoms. Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting spells, coma or stroke can occur with low blood pressure, as well as extensive damage to your vital organs. High blood pressure — or hypertension — is known as the silent killer because it often doesn't have any warning signs. An affected person may notice such symptoms as headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and nausea, or they may not. Continual high blood pressure could result in conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke.
What can you do?
In all cases of low or high blood pressure, you need to be evaluated by your health care provider, as he or she will offer the proper, medically sound advice. However, there are a few things you can do:
Keep yourself from suffering the effects of low blood pressure with these suggestions:
- Up your water intake to prevent dehydration.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid standing for extended periods of time.
- Eat several smaller meals a day instead of three larger ones.
By taking a few preventative measures, you can dramatically reduce the risk of succumbing to the silent killer known as high blood pressure. Consider the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Choose a healthy diet. Follow the guidelines in Canada's food guide for a nutritionally sound plan.
- Keep yourself physically active.
- Reduce your sodium intake.
- Enjoy alcohol in moderation only.
- Avoid smoking.