What is High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is a condition when blood pressure against the arterial wall is too high. It is considered a silent killer. Because High blood pressure carries no symptoms. High blood pressure may increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is a widely misunderstood. We often assume it affects those who are type-A, tense and aggressive. But the truth is, it has nothing to do with personality traits. In fact, you can be the most relaxed, calm person and still suffer from HBP.
High Blood Pressure May Cause Heart Attack
The reality is that HBP is a condition that makes the heart work harder than normal. And left untreated, it scars and damages your arteries and can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye damage, heart failure and fatty buildups in the arteries, called atherosclerosis.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Numbers
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers and a written as a ratio:
- Systolic: The top number in the ratio, which is also the higher of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic: The bottom number in the ratio, which is also the lower of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. While it can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg for women age 20 or over.
How to Evaluate HBP Number?
High blood pressure can be classified as below:
- Normal: Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- Pre-hypertension: 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
- Hypertension: 140 or higher systolic or 90 or higher diastolic
- Hypertensive Crisis: higher than 180 or higher than 110 diastolic
Since blood pressure is fluctuating and unpredictable. Consider to monitor your blood pressure regularly. You can go to healthcare provider to check your blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, make sure that you get appropriate treatment.
As a woman, you have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure if you are 20 pounds or more overweight, have a family history of high blood pressure, or have reached menopause.
While there is no cure, HBP is manageable and preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a diet low in salt, saturated fats, cholesterol and alcohol. Physical activity and weight loss are also key factors in lowering your HBP numbers. And these simple changes can go a long way.