What does your Blood pressure mean?

Most of us have either had it taken or taken our own blood pressure more than once (hopefully) already, but the big question is what do those numbers mean. Why should you take your blood pressure regularly, what doyour blood pressure #s tell about you and your health? All very valid questions and today we will get down to the bottom of it all…

blood pressure 1

Wikipedia describes blood pressure as the ” pressure exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. During each heartbeat, BP varies between a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (diastolic) pressure. The mean BP decreases as the circulating blood moves away from the heart through arteries, has its greatest decrease in the small arteries and arterioles, and continues to decrease as the blood moves through the capillaries and back to the heart through veins.”    

Blood pressure refers to one’s pressure taken at the brachial artery located on your upper arm. This artery is the upper arm’s major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. One’s blood pressure is measured in 2 values; systolic and diastolic pressure, for example   120/(over)80. “Systolic pressure is peak pressure in the arteries, which occurs near the end of the cardiac cycle when the ventricles are contracting. Diastolic pressure is minimum pressure in the arteries, which occurs near the beginning of the cardiac cycle when the ventricles are filled with blood” (Wikipedia [Online]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_pressure).

What do the values mean?…you ask… Good question. A healthy adult will have an a pressure close to 115/75. Of course these values do vary depending on the following factors: stress, nutrition, medication/drugs, exercise, illness/diseases and also from standing up to sitting. If one has “hypertension” it means that their arterial pressure is abnormally high and “hypotension” refers to an abnormally low arterial pressure. For charts explaining blood pressure readings, follow this link.  In summary, your blood pressure can tell you a lot about your physiology, it should be taken before beginning and exercise program. For more information about blood pressure, check the following website:

http://www.blood-pressure-updates.com/bp/bp-basics/monitoring-blood-pressure/an-explanation-of-blood-pressure-levels.htm

or read the spec’s latest article on taking your own blood pressure and its importance http://www.thespec.com/go/healthfitness/article/654585

Bottom line, know your body, take your blood pressure regularly! Until next time, keep moving…

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