Our resident Exercise Physiologist Explains blood pressure and factors to manage it!
For many of us blood pressure (BP) is considered a low priority until we start to get a bit older. But be cautious of the unknown even if your not old, or don’t think you’re an old person yet.
For those who aren’t aware of what blood pressure is exactly and the role it plays in determining our health status, you can find out below:
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood on the walls of your arteries, and is considered a vital component of how your heart and circulation function. Blood pressure will naturally change throughout the day, often going up and down to accommodate certain situations (exercise, stress, rest etc). High blood pressure (HBP) or Hypertension as its known as in the medical world is classed when your blood pressure is above the normal range for a long and consistent period of time. This prolonged period of time is what starts to do damage to the body and the way it functions.
The optimal range for your blood pressure is for a reading of under 120/80mmHG. But don’t stress if your reading this, (your BP my go up) readings above 120/80mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are considered to be in the normal to high normal range. A list of the specific blood pressure categories can be seen below:
Most of the time HBP has no noticeable symptoms to make us aware that it is indeed high, and that’s where it often gets it’s nickname as the ‘silent killer’. There are number risks associated with prolonged HBP, these can include the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, peripheral artery disease (PAD), as will as other implications such as vision loss and sexual dysfunction.
The cause of high blood pressure is often hard to determine however there are a number of risk factors that can contribute to it. These can include the following:
- Family history – mum or dad have/had hypertension
- Eating habits – high fat and salt food.
- Alcohol Intake
- Weight – over weight or obese
- Insufficient physical activity
- Certain medications
In order to counteract the effect of high blood pressure, there are a number of different ways to go about it. At Fighting Fit we recommend the introduction of some healthier lifestyle choices, such as eating and drinking healthier, as well as exercising more!
The use of medication may be required depending on the severity of your HBP. However, medication cannot cure HBP, but with other life changes will go a long way to managing your blood pressure. This will also reduce your risk of future blood pressure adverse health related incidents.
So if you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in a while go and get it done. It could be a life saver!
Chris Hunt – Accedited Exercise Physiologist.