Do You Know the Effect of Your Numbers?
Your heart starts beating as early as 4 weeks in utero and grows to beat over 100,000 times per day. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because you usually don’t know you have it. The symptoms may seem minor or non-existent when you’re running from work to school plays or finishing house chores to make it to soccer practice. All that hustle and bustle may cause your blood pressure to rise above the average range. If left untreated, high blood pressure may cause heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other serious health problems.
What the Numbers Mean
Blood pressure consists of two numbers, the systolic and the diastolic. The upper number is systolic pressure, which happens when blood is pumped out of your heart and into your arteries. The lower number is diastolic pressure, which occurs as your heart is resting between beats. According to the American Heart Association in December 2017, a normal blood pressure for an average person is less than 120 over less than 80. There are two stages of high blood pressure, or hypertension. The first stage is systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89. The second stage is systolic of 140 or higher or diastolic of 90 or higher. Numbers higher than 180 over 120 is considered a hypertensive crisis and warrants emergency medical attention.*
While blood pressure is a primary vital taken during a physical exam, that shouldn’t be the only time you take your blood pressure. Also, your blood pressure might be slightly different when you’re at the doctor’s office than if you were in a less stressful environment.
Talk to your doctor about the different ways to record and track your blood pressure at home. Additionally, there are times when you may be more likely to have high blood pressure such as when you’ve had a lot of salt, if you’re taking birth control pills, excessive drinking and if you’re pregnant.
Track Your Numbers
Looking to keep better track of your blood pressure? Visit your local Publix pharmacy for a free health screening at BayCare HealthHub. Create an account, so you can track your results and share with your physician. BayCare offers a variety of ways for you stay on top of your health, including health events and lectures.
*There is considerable controversy about blood pressure ranges. You should speak with your physician about what your optimal blood pressure range should be.