Getting your blood pressure facts straight may be more important to your health than you realize. The reason is that even if you think your blood pressure is where it should be, it’s still a good idea to get it checked and know what you’re doing to keep it in a healthy range.
Among the scariest blood pressure facts is the one that says that approximately 20 percent of Americans don’t realize they have hypertension (high blood pressure). They don’t know they have it because they haven’t experienced any symptoms. But that’s just it. It frequently doesn’t occur with obvious symptoms. Even those symptoms that do occur are often easy to mistake for something completely different such as indigestion.
The vast majority of people who have high blood pressure find out when they are being checked for something else or during a routine checkup. These important blood pressure facts help you to stay on top of your health and remember to get checked even if you’re fairly certain that absolutely nothing is wrong.
Measuring your blood pressure involves two numbers. The top systolic blood pressure and the bottom diastolic blood pressure. The top systolic blood pressure is the measurement of the force your being pressed against the walls of the arteries during the heart’s contractions. The bottom diastolic blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure within the arteries during the “resting” period between the heartbeats.
The average normal pressure level is considered to be 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or lower (often read as “120 over 80”). Readings from 120 to 139 mmHg over 80 to 89 mmHg are considered to be “at risk.” Readings at 140 mmHg over 90 mmHg are officially within the hypertension – high blood pressure – category.
You should also know that hypertension isn’t just a condition that occurs on its own. It is typically connected with other types of health issue. This means that it can occur as a result of another medical problem or, if it is left untreated for a length of time, it can bring on additional medical problems.
If your readings show hypertension, your doctor will likely also check your urine as well as your kidney function. He or she will look for changes in your lungs and will typically do an electrocardiogram (ECG) to check your heart size.
Conditions that can place you at an increased risk of high blood pressure include sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and kidney disease.
If you allow hypertension to continue without treating it, you’re at an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, peripheral vascular disease, aneurisms, stroke and kidney disease.